The Fear of a #WIP

As I write this, my latest #wip (work in progress) keeps catching the corner of my eye. I’m not very good at navigating this middle phase of an unfinished painting, and the annoying perfectionist that sometimes shacks up in my head hates it even more.

If I could start and finish every painting in one day (or preferably one session), without stopping, I would (or rather the perfectionist in me would). That version of me would love to just start with an idea, an inspiration, paint, and then finish with said idea/inspiration come to life on the canvas beautifully; but it so rarely unfolds in that way.

So much of my work still exists in the unknown. To begin with, I’m working abstractly, so I don’t have any recognisible forms to anchor myself to. On top of that, I don’t really know what I’m painting or why! My entire artistic style is completely unknown to me still and whilst that can be incredibly liberating and exciting, it can also be scary and full of uncertainty and insecurity.

I suppose it all boils down to my willingness and openness to play. To explore and experiment. An unfinished painting needn’t be something to worry over, or avoid (hence the headline picture for this post which made me laugh because I sometimes can’t bear to look at my unfinished works, I think they’re so horrible!). It could simply be an opportunity. A blank canvas of a different sort. A foundation of colour to build upon.

I think where I get stuck in the middle part of the journey of a painting is that when it’s half-formed and I don’t yet know where it’s going, I slow down and start to think a little. I ask myself what I should do next. What colour to use. What mark to make. Add a few more questions into the mix and then it’s game over. As I’ve said before, I cannot paint from my head. I cannot think a painting into completion.

So I’m left wondering how I can better navigate the #wip. How can I catch myself in that middle portion, when my mind starts to get involved, and take myself back to a state of play, back to that space in which I put the first brush stroke on the blank canvas without worrying about where it was going or how it would end up?

I’ll have to get back to you on that!

L x

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