“Perseverance” 24×30, oil on canvas Buy Now

Daily painting is a defense against my natural tendency to abandon what I’ve started when it stops being fun. Chapter 2 of Art and Fear discusses quitting, something I’m pretty good at. From the piano lessons that got too hard, to the drama club that lay bare my insecurities, I learned early on that walking away from something could save me from a fair amount of anguish. Bayles and Orland claim artists who quit and those who don’t have a lot in common. We all have life-gets-in-the-way struggles. We all lose our way. Frustration is not some highly isolated human experience. The artist who continues has learned “how not to quit.”

I’ve learned not to quit precisely by doing these painting a day challenges which give me the chance to both explore an idea on repeat or scrap it for something entirely new when I know it’s run its course. Art making seems to be a cycle– a grandiose idea accompanied by excitement and thoughts of glory, followed by execution that adjusts the original vision, sometimes demanding that it evolve, expand, or even just simmer down. So we start again. Before I learned how “not to quit,” an idea having run its course was a road block, a year long break from picking up a brush, and not the starting line for some new direction.

The more paintings I’ve done, the less I fear the moments where nothing goes right. Those are part and parcel of everything that eventually does work.

It’s only been four days, but I can see this idea I’m exploring lasting a while. I know it too will eventually run its course, but what new idea will it leave in its wake? 

Today’s painting is the larger, more abstracted version of  yesterday’s. It takes more of the bird form than my day 2 painting did of day 1. This wasn’t entirely intentional. I was really drawn to the dark stripes on the bird’s wings and wanted them to play a significant role in the design of this larger painting.

I love the idea of the small painting and the larger one being displayed side by side– the larger one a more expressive interpretation of the spirit of the first.

What do you think?

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