You have probably heard the phrase:
Focus on the Journey, not the Destination
Be present and find value in the journey, rather than deferring your happiness until you reach the end goal.
It’s solid advice for so many areas of life, right?
It’s also fantastic advice for making art.
Here’s the thing-
When I start an abstract painting, I have to remind myself to let go of any expectations of how the finished piece will look. If I don’t, I’ve found that the end product always ends up being a disaster.
When I’m at the easel, the minute I start pushing toward my expectation of what the painting “should” look like, it all falls apart. I end up frustrated, wanting to scrap the painting entirely.
However, if I let go of my expectations and simply enjoy the process of creating, things seem to flow.
It’s the difference between letting the painting evolve naturally, rather than forcing it.
And let me tell you, the former feels way better than the latter.
So what does this mean for my work? Well, it means my paintings change A LOT from start to finish. And that’s okay.
A painting might look totally different from one day to the next. It will change with every layer of paint. One day it may look so bad that I want to hide it away so that no one will ever see it, and then the next day I will come back to the easel and find an unexpected way to salvage it.
It doesn’t matter how many different compositional elements or color combinations it takes along the way. I just focus on doing the work at the easel.
Turns into this painting:
Then finally, after days of looking, learning, reacting, and editing, I see it…
A finished painting:
One that is intuitive, creative, and honest. One that I never could have created, if I had been worrying about the end result.
Thanks for reading.
PS- I have an lot of new abstract paintings in the works and will be releasing them on my website soon. In the meantime, if you want to see more of what I have been working on, follow me on Instagram.