Practicing Commitment

Making a painting is a lot like a relationship. It’s a commitment.

Little paintings, like short relationships, are good practice and you get to experience the thrill of completion a little sooner... But a BIG painting is a long-term commitment. It takes more time, dedication and determination.

Like any relationship, there are many stages to creating a painting.

I start each painting with a drawing on canvas. It’s the beginning of our relationship... I’m getting to know it.

In the second stage I add a layer of grey paint as a tonal study. The painting is becoming more solid and real... and all kinds of surprises are showing up! Interesting shapes and characters are appearing... it’s fun and playful!

The third stage involves adding layers of colour. Now it becomes more serious... I must keep my vision clear and focused, especially as I go through the ugly phase. This is when doubts can show up...

It's time to listen to my painting. It tells me where it wants to go...

Sometimes it takes a complete change of direction than what I expected... so it’s important to be flexible.

I need to give it continued attention now... if I leave it too long it’s easy to lose interest and start a whole new one...

In the end, the commitment is worth it. Just like a relationship you learn a lot about yourself and a lot about life. You realize it isn’t all about the finished product... it’s about the process and loving each stage of the journey. But you need to make a commitment to experience this.