The most valuable advice I have ever received from an art teacher was: "Paint until you are happy." Most profound thing that have affected my art in a deep way and always pushed me to discover how can an artwork be brought to the next level.
I took this advice as my most valuable tool that I have applied into every artwork I created in the last 5 years. Little did I know that at times this advice would become a nagging thing in my head that would not let me rest until an artwork is brought onto a more complex and intriguing state. Sometimes I would be stuck at an artwork for weeks, painting and repainting it obsessively, and when not painting I would go around house grumpy and dissatisfied, pondering and guessing, what if and how to?
In the last several months the need to change have become my torment and obsession. I discard everything I attempt to paint in the old way and constantly question whether this complete work can be brought to the next level. I call it a love-hate relationship with the canvas.
My recent work "Set sail and love" was one of those I struggle with the most. It all started with my usual 15 min Pinterest browsing before bedtime. I came across a photo of a beautiful ship, my mind immediately went on an adventure, imagining incorporating something like this into my art and the name "Set Sail and Love" have jumped to mind right away. I wrote the name down, went to sleep and next morning started working out a composition.
First thing I always do is paint a face. That's usually the easiest part. Then I painted a ship and glued collage of flowers that I completely overpainted in my own way.
Great thing about acrylics is that it can never be too many layers on the artwork. You can continue adding layers again and again, literally until you are happy. In fact the more layers you add, the better the artwork will be in the end.
In this case the more I added, the more I resented this work. It felt stagnant and lack in energy. And the worst thought that I completely hate coming to my mind kept arriving and nagging me: "the whole story lacks in meaning and confusing, it's just a pretty artwork in rococo style."
Truly, the last thing I want to make is simply pretty art. To make matters worse, my husband walked into my studio and remarked: "Very nice. Reminds me of your earlier work." My husband is often my worst critique, who pushes me onto another level. Perhaps he did not mean it this time, but I got totally depressed over his comment and almost trashed the whole thing in a bin.
But wait, before you ever trash your artwork, just put another layer on it! Paint until you are happy - came to mind. And so I did.
I think it's that tension between how i am used to paint story art and how my heart wants to evolve into painting it differently. That struggle to evolve pushes us artists to go for drastic wipe out and repaint, sometimes several times.
I cannot say that I am madly in love with the result, but at least I am much happier with her now than in any other stages.