joy in june -- overcoming frustration and being stubborn

Some paintings go so smoothly. Many don't. Often I have to fight with myself to keep working when a painting isn't going the way I'd like it to. Part of that is just the natural stages of a painting. It won't look "finished" in the middle stages. Sometimes there are other hindrances.

Most recently I played around with painting colorful geranium leaves. Testing colors. Testing the flow of paint. It was supposed to be a quick project. Why I thought so, I do not know.

On the left you can see what was supposed to become a finished painting. I almost never give up entirely on a painting. This time I did. And yet, this geranium kept nagging at me. I lay in bed thinking about how I could paint the leaves. I wanted to give it one more try.

It's not quite finished yet and I'm still not entirely happy with the look of the leaves, but I am happy that I went back and tried again. That stubbornness, that determination is the only way to develop as a painter. Or, really, in any endeavor. Don't be dissuaded by the learning curve. There will always be a learning curve. (It am reminded of Ira Glass's advice to beginners -- some of the best advice there is). We always strive to be better (no matter what it is we're doing). Striving is natural and good. Staying where you are, stagnating, is not. With each painting I get better. The important thing is to enjoy the process. I enjoy studying the plants and flowers I'm going to paint. I enjoy choosing and mixing colors. I enjoy sketching out the design. Choosing which brush to use for each section of the painting. Even my test pages and failed painting in that first picture are beautiful and joyful to me in their own way.

And perhaps it's less about striving and creating and more about perspective. In all of life we can choose our perspective. Is it beautiful and joyful or is it ugly and depressing. I choose the first option. What about you?


  1. I love your determination Anne. I need some of that for painting. I feel like the more I do lately the worse they are. :( So it is nice to know when others hit up against things and come out successful. I think your final painting is looking lovely. I love the colors you chose. I'm working on a knitted dishcloth and a crochet motif in the orange/terracotta colors you have used. So pretty.

  2. Good lessons for all artists, Anne. I love your painting and even your initial attempts. You have such a delicate touch! Beautiful!

  3. You are right Anne, it is always the matter of perspective and our choice. Beautiful painting Anne, very good work! Beautiful study of the plant! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and art. big hugs!


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