And then something happened with the second one I did. The longer I looked at it, the more I become convinced that it wasn't as it was supposed to be. There was an unnatural darkness about it that made me feel uneasy and prompted me to try and make adjustments to help illuminate it. Everything I did only made it worse and spread more darkness over it. My husband tried his best to convince me that I should just let it be and friends of mine gave me plenty of affirmations that is was "pretty good." I wasn't convinced though I ended it quickly by rubbing it down with turpenoid and not even thinking twice about it. I knew that finishing it and then wiping it clean was absolutely essential to the creative process for what this painting would be.
The canvas sat on my easel for a little while longer while I attempted to make something of the painting that I knew deep down was supposed to be happening. I decided to go with some gut instincts and push through on an idea that I could not quiet inside of myself. Ultimately, that idea floundered a few times but every time it did that, the canvas and residual paints that would not wipe away no matter how much turpenoid I put on it, kept revealing a specific structure that I knew was supposed to be the visual armature of the finished piece. At one point I took the canvas off the easel and spent time just rotating it around and around to change my perspective. When I finally saw it, the rest followed and I was able to finish it in probably 5-6 hours flat of active painting.
Here it is...
I didn't time myself so it might have even been four hours total time that it actually took me. That's a 36x36 oil on canvas piece. And while I still definitely consider myself a bit of a novice when it comes to painting and even fine art creation and I doubt whether or not what I am turning out is actually good and not just stupid luck, I still cannot help but feel like this one is pretty OK and I have gotten it right in a little bit of a way.
I don't know what it is about painting for me but there is just nothing like it. Even before I became a believer in Christ Jesus and His gospel, painting has been something that has been truly spiritual for me. Painting helps me feel like I can transcend whatever I might be grappling with in order for me to feel like I can see it in big-picture view. Painting makes me feel small and even inconspicuous and while that might seem like a bad thing, for me and to me, it's very comforting, calming, and validating.
I have yet to truly understand what all of these new paintings mean just yet but I continue to not be bothered by that fact. Every time I paint - no matter if I am starting one, painting over one, or making the last marks on a piece in order to call it finished - I know that right now in my life, I am doing exactly what I have been called to do. I am exactly where and how I should be.
|Heavenly Matter series | Oil on canvas, 36 x 36 inches|