This post is hard to write because there is so much behind it and I have never been particularly graceful with words. I find describing my feelings terribly difficult. Dialing back last month was definitely the right decision - it is amazing the clarity that can come from slowing down. I worked on this painting throughout the month and generally felt very happy with it. I got stuck plenty of times, but worked my way out of it - sometimes with the help of my trusted friends. That point is significant for me. I rarely sought after critique before and in general am not one to ask for help - it just usually doesn't even occur to me! But when I got stuck this time, I turned to my sister and to a couple of amazing artist friends and asked for their opinion. What is this missing? What's off? What should I look at? Each of the three I asked had something completely different to say, and each was helpful. So refreshing.
I am excited about this painting not just for what I learned in the process, which was a lot - both in my technique and in how to be and behave (e.g. asking for and being genuinely receptive to feedback), but also because it is amazing to have my imagination flowing more freely again. It used to feel so easy and natural (below) and slowly over the last several years just got buried. It goes to show that we can tap into those areas of our minds if we decide to. They don't go away, they just become dormant until we're ready to wake them back up.
It feels incredible to create work that is really from my soul with no other motive. It's also a relief creating something that is so me that I can relax knowing that no one else would be putting these same things together. In the world of online selling especially (le animalé, bnnk) there's pressure to implement your ideas right away. I have a few sketches I'm working on and hope to start a new painting soon, but if I take my time with it it's not like someone else is going to paint it first. It's not like I'm going to miss a selling season. These pieces come from my weird mind and no one else's.