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. :)


  • I haven’t started painting yet but a have a drawing story.

    I worked on a drawing for months which had issues I just couldn’t resolve. I so over-rendered it everything in it started to look made of sterling silver. I felt like the Midas of graphite. :D

    In frustration I erased the whole thing, turned the bottom to the top and went on to draw my most successful drawing yet from the shadow of the first attempt left behind on the paper. Learned a lot in the process.

  • 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. :)
  •  :)  no, I have no photos yet. 
  • 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. :)
  • 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.
  • edited July 5
    Much earlier in life as an artist, I had moved into the downtown of the city from the comfortable countryside after 10-12 years.
     During my 2nd-3rd year I got so frustrated and depressed that I threw out just about everything I had done to the trash. This eventually lead me to a much happier place and great period of growth where I was deeply inspired to paint on eggs. I decided to start over again from scratch. Even though I encountered the similar frustration again and again, I've retrained myself to not throw out my art to the trash.
     There was a 12 year period when I was making flutes, playing sacred flutes for meditation and healing, and a few other folklore type musical  instruments. These were all trashed (nearly 50 flutes) and I've rarely played since, these days I'm very quietly playing for myself, so crazy difficult here though! I've been trying to find a way to get on my bicycle, ride to a secluded spot and play outdoors in private, such a great thing as animals and birds love it too! I can't even get a seat and seat post for my bike 😥.
     What's the use if ya can't play?
     This lead me to discover Mark Carder and oil painting, and here I am since 2017!🤣😂🌞
     This pandemic has lead me to seriously review my work as a new oil painter and make new decisions about what exactly I want from this and how to do it. Also led me to study the brain and good brain health and over all better health, science, physics and quantum physics with a world renowned doctor, who is now my new best friend, 2 1/2 years now, equivalent to same as university entry level education. I made many new friends. There is a possibility of a new opportunity for a new business and make money in this, but most important is to tend to everyone's wellness especially at this time in our lives and the state of our health care systems. I love how well I've been able to keep myself including the team that I'm working with during this pandemic and stuff.
     I'm looking forward to oil painting again, and I've changed inside me, I would expect this to reflect through my new paintings and new ways.
  • 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!  
  • These are really touching, everyone.  I am honored to read your stories and will respond in depth later. :)
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