“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
-Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
As I work on a painting it can sometimes feel like torture. I apply paint, and more paint, and step back for inspection, and step forward to further the attack; and nothing helps. The painting is only getting more boring. By this point my anxiety is keeping pace with the enthusiasm I had initially.
So I hang the painting up on the wall, and at each mealtime I chew my food and stare the painting in the face. I look at its surface and I look at its soul. I wonder how it could be different. I wonder how it could exude all of the charms that I want it to.
After a long wait the painting comes off the wall and back on the easel. I’m ready to give it a second chance. Or is it ready to give me a second chance? Instead of filling the palette with paint and trying to force the same idea through this pathetic period, I decide to start with a clean slate. I apply a coat of gesso to my canvas, erasing almost all of the torture I had previously put in it. It is revitalized and so am I; ready to smile at the start of a new beginning.
And as exciting as it may be to watch paint dry I prefer to remain busy.
This handcrafted pretzel ring is going to look awesome while I hold my enormous beer at the next festival.
And because it doesn’t take all afternoon to make one ring; I also decided to start another painting. It’s a farmhouse in the hills of northern Austria. It’s traditional subject matter dressed in nontraditional clothes. It’s not yet finished, and I vow to not put it through a torturous stage.