The Hardest Part of Finishing

So I know I haven’t posted in a while. Partly because I was out of town recently for a work conference and partly because I just haven’t been as active in my studio lately as I could have been.

I did manage a solid work day this past weekend working on this painting of Todd. I’m pretty happy with the drawing of the face though the color temperatures were starting to get away from me and I’ll have to correct that in the next pass.

Todd (in progress)
Todd (in progress)

I’ve been feeling a little mentally overwhelmed since I got back from the conference and I told myself that I needed a bit of a break to recharge the batteries. Having an extra day off this weekend for Memorial Day was both good and bad in this regard, it was an extra day to recharge but it also was a missed opportunity for a extra studio day.

Last night I remembered something that Eric Fischl told us at NYAA – “excuses are bullshit”. Various artists, and I don’t mean just painters but people working in any creative endeavor have said as much. I believe it was Dali who said something along the lines of “there is such a thing as inspiration but when it comes it had better find you at work in your studio”. Hemingway said something like, “inspiration is great for amateurs, the rest of us get to work.” You have to treat this not as a hobby but as a profession – I know that.

I didn’t feel like painting last night but I pulled myself down into the studio and found something that I knew the direction that I wanted to go in and could accomplish in a few hours — specifically the background for this painting of Todd. I had used this Prussian Blue before in some of the earlier layers of the portrait of Paul and Mandie. I love the hue but it was simply too dark for that painting so it was mostly covered over and I’ve been looking forward to utilizing it again for this painting.

Once I started painting all the weight I had been feeling left. I remembered why I enjoy painting so much and the hours flew by. I nearly missed out on dinner as I was so focused on my work. Fortunately Julie gave me a second (or was it a third?) call to dinner and I was able to finish up the background before cleaning up to eat.

Todd (in progress)
Todd (in progress)

Still a lot of work to do on this one but it’s starting to come together. But sometimes just starting is the hardest part of finishing.