Discussion Question -- Emotional Ride of Art

What is the happiest you've ever been while painting?  And what was your lowest point of frustration and depression?  What painting was it, and during which part?

Painting can evoke some very polar emotions for me. I'd love to hear everybody's stories and experiences. :)

Comments

  • That's a really cool experience you shared, @Suez.  Would you happen to have a picture to share of the drawing?  I'm super curious now. :)
  • edited July 5
    What a great topic for discussion, @allforChrist! It's so relevant to our experience of painting. 

    Like you, the act of painting can take me on a roller-coaster of emotions - from despair to joy to despair to joy ... I'm happy when I end on a peak and not in a trough. I'm doing one right now that I'm happy with so far but I've left the  most problematic section until last because it's going to be hard to make it work and there's a danger of me foundering in a trough of despair. But that's happened before and I know that I'll just keep making adjustments until I get it to work as well as I can at my current level of skill and knowledge. The thing is not to toss in the towel too soon.

    I think beginners especially can have a hard time of it when things aren't going smoothly. Frustration builds and the danger at this point is to start dabbing away mindlessly in the hope that something will miraculously work. That rarely happens. The thing to do is to down tools and calmly analyze the situation. What is not working? What do I need to do to make it work? Until we can answer these two questions there's no point in continuing to dab away at a painting. But sometimes it's hard to answer even the first question. And that's the beauty of the DMP forum. Folks here are so kind and helpful in pointing to problems and suggesting how to fix them. 

    The other thing I find helpful is to have a clear picture in mind before I begin of how I want the final painting to look and to have a clear plan of how I intend to get to that destination. This can help smooth out the roller-coaster ride. I'm not very good at voyages of discovery and I envy those few painters who seem to be able to just start tossing paint around and come up with a good picture. Maybe that, too, comes with practice and experience. 

    We shouldn't get up tight about the emotions we feel during a painting. The agony and the extasy is normal. And, at the end of the day, it's the roller-coaster ride that makes painting so thrilling. :)
    allforChristA_Time_To_Paint
  • tassieguy said:
    I think beginners especially can have a hard time of it when things aren't going smoothly. Frustration builds and the danger at this point is to start dabbing away mindlessly in the hope that something will miraculously work. That rarely happens. The thing to do is to down tools and calmly analyze the situation.
    Great point. If I'm going to paint on the weekend, I start looking at the painting earlier in the week, taking it in until I see what I want to do. I may not know how immediately, but seeing this early allows it to sink in. Perhaps sleep processes it. I wake on the Saturday morning with clarity and usually have a good day. But dabbing away without a plan, without perspective on the whole painting, without knowing what you want to do and how to achieve it - is very counter-productive. It's the same with book editing. You get lost in details.
    Happiest: I don't know happiest. I've had many moments like that - often starting well with sketch or block in or those moments when you stand back in shock and realise: hey, I nailed that. Or wow, it's really coming together. 
    Worst: Having to sand back countless hours of work because of rippling of the paint. I put it off, kept researching options until I realised: there was no other option. As I ground away it felt like the sandpaper was scraping my soul to see the beauty disappear and know I had to do all that architectural measuring and exactitude again. Sometimes life deals you a lousy hand and you have to be a big person and play it. Thankfully I didn't have to sand off the faces of my children.
    tassieguyallforChrist
  • My worst moment was when I was half way through the painting “My Morning Song” and I realized the composition was terrible.  I had way too much empty black background.  I scraped the background off and decided to put the curtains and window view in the background.  That was a lot of detail and effort to do.  My best moment was when I won a first place award for that same painting at a regional show!  
    AbstractiontassieguyallforChrist
  • These are really touching, everyone.  I am honored to read your stories and will respond in depth later. :)
  • I wanted to respond as I said I would, so forgive the resurrection of an old thread.

    What stood out to me is that oftentimes the worst moment during a painting is sometimes a ditch on the road straight to a success.  I think it's important to dig deeper and keep going.  Sanity is most important though and if you need a long break, there's no point in forcing yourself to paint when you don't want to.

    @Abstraction isn't that such a wonderful feeling-- the shocked "I nailed this" :)  

    @GTO that is such a wonderful story because "My Morning Song" is my favorite painting of yours.  And one of my favorite paintings ever...  So inspiring that you put in all the extra work and kept going, and improved and adjusted.

    Similar with you @Suez, the worst failure turned into the best success...

    @Forgiveness, your story is so interesting.  I'm so happy for you that inwardly you have a different sense of calm about life and painting.  I'm a big fan of your brush stroke.


    This summarizes it best, by @tassieguy:  

    "I'll just keep making adjustments until I get it to work as well as I can at my current level of skill and knowledge. The thing is not to toss in the towel too soon."

    Thank you friends of the art forum for responding with your thoughts several months ago.  I'm honored to be able to see your work and learn from all of you.
    tassieguyGTOA_Time_To_Paint
  • Not directly an answer, but I have an experience a bit similar to that of Suez. I quite often get results that must go into scrap and I reuse the support. I do know that the time spent to prepare a reused support is not worth it because the inexpensive supports I use cost between 1.50 and 4 euro medium to large format. But because it has some relaxing effect "no worries, it's junk anyway", a good part of my "keepers" are on reused.
  • I tend to put pressure on myself, in that each of my paintings must be something good enough to hopefully "sell" one day.  The emotional ride is full of ups and downs.  It starts out pretty good after I get the idea, but then I keep second-guessing myself the whole while wondering if it is the right composition, does it evoke an emotional response, and do I have it in me to really do this and bitten off more than I can chew?  I have turned out a few pieces that were incredibly fun to paint, like Earl, one of our dogs, and a lantern painting using Mark Carder's method.  One still life I knew going in would be a gigantic challenge so set myself up to do just "one section of the painting at a time" and it came out very nice but was pretty exhausting.  While doing the sketch for that one, it took me at least eight hours to get it right.  From there, it was the thought "do you really think you can do this?"  I had to keep brushing that little voice away to get it done.  Having started later in life, I often wonder why do I paint at all because it is supposed to take Y-E-A-R-S of experience to really get good at painting.  There are ways to speed things up but nothing, I don't believe, will ever take the place of good old-fashioned hard work.  So quite a lot of worse moments usually much more so than the good ones.
    tassieguy
  • I completely understand @A_Time_To_Paint.  It's a skill to be able to let go of the worries and just enjoy putting the work in.  I hope you can enjoy the process more and more as you continue.  You have beautiful art.
    A_Time_To_Paint
  • Thanks for sharing, @outremer.  it's good to let go and not worry about it!
  • @A_Time_To_Paint I have some of those same feelings at times as well.  I just let it go and don’t give them attention.  And I just paint. Most of the time I put a little music on and that helps.
    A_Time_To_Paint
  • edited October 14
    You're not alone, @A_Time_To_Paint. I continually question my ability to produce anything worthwhile. This negative monkey on my shoulder keeps whispering, Who do you think you are? You weren't born talented so how will you ever be any good. Etc, etc. It's hard to shut this monkey up sometimes. I contradict it by reminding it of the successes I've had. That helps some. And like @GTO, I find music helps.  Listening to Bach drowns it out and inspires me. It's hard to think bad things with his glorious music filling my head. Try this:

      ARGERICH & FRIENDS Bach Concertos for Piano(s) BWV1065, 1054, 1058, 1061, 1064 - Bing video



    Or just any music you really love.


    A_Time_To_PaintallforChrist
  • Fortunately I dont get depression over any of it. There are times of frustration of course and I will sometimes wonder if I am able to make right something or get it to how I want it but I find perseverance helps with that.
    I love the feeling I get when I have overcome a difficultly and problem solved what I am working on. I can feel elated when a piece has worked out well.
    A_Time_To_Paint
  • edited October 15
    Thank you @allforChrist for starting this discussion. It has inspired me to reach that point of just having fun with a painting knowing it is a series of really just solving problems and not putting any pressure on myself.  I want to produce more work and find it is easier to do that when approached with the idea of "I GET to paint today!"  rather than "I HAVE to paint today."  This attitude is really hanging on and hope the negative monkey as @tassieguy mentioned has left for good.  Thanks @tassieguy for the link to the music!  I love classical music!
    allforChrist
  • My high was and still is painting at the seashore. My down was when painting woodland , to much greens and trees, Now it's a high, less greens and less trees. I love plein air.
    allforChrist
  • @tassieguy the music is epic, thank you. :)

    @A_Time_To_Paint that's amazing to hear.  You phrased it perfectly.  "just having fun with a painting knowing it is a series of really just solving problems and not putting any pressure on myself"

    Very neat and impressive you do plein air, @Hunter1.  I bet that woods are incredibly difficult to get through.
    tassieguy
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