“In the Shadows” 4×4, oil on canvas Buy Now

Chapter 5 of Art and Fear gives this bit of advice about the moment when the art that has been happening smoothly for some amount of time, all of a sudden, doesn’t.  Stay in reality, it cautions. Art is cause and effect. If your smooth sailing has transformed into choppy waters, chances are you’ve changed something you are doing.

Today wasn’t all that magical. I think I was thinking more about the larger painting I would do based on this one than the actual strokes at hand today. I also broke a resolution that I’d set for myself at the onset of this 31 day challenge: no podcasts, audiobooks, or tv shows while I paint. Music only. It was my way of attempting to give my paintings my full, and honest attention. No distractions.

The best poems don’t have excess words– each seems to be the exact one needed. Eliminate any and the whole thing collapses, add even one extra and it loses it’s punch. That’s how I’m trying to think of these brushstrokes: one intentional, focused one is always greater than one hundred distracted ones.

During my studio time this morning, I listened to a really great episode of This American Life, which, go figure, happened to involve bird feathers. But I’ve learned my lesson, I’m back on the bandwagon. No more relapses. I’m ready to be with the art, face it, head on, without chatter in the background to break the ice. Ready to not be so scared of a measly 4×4 canvas that I need a buffer of voices to distract me.

I don’t even dislike the painting I created today. What I dislike was how it came to be– a little less focused energy meant a little less joy in its creation. I’m ready to begin again my resolve to stay rooted in the present moment, take my paintings one focused stroke at a time.