Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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04/04/2004: "How to Ruin a Painting in 5 minutes or Less!"

music: Over the Rhine - Ohio
technorati tags: Despondant

Newly inspired by all the art I saw Friday night during gallery walk, I came home ready to get to work. I decided to spend the weekend only working on half finished paintings, or nearly finished paintings that just needed the finishing touches.

I have this one painting that I worked on a lot several weeks ago. I mean A LOT! And it looked good, finished just didn't look exactly like the person I wanted it to look like. And I don't mean photo-realism, I just mean that with any portrait, there's a spark, something unique that makes a person look like an individual. And it was soooo close to being perfect but I just couldn't leave it alone.

I tried making some changes and it suddenly just got away from me. And now the poor guy looks like a burn victim pre-facial reconstruction. I can't even look at it. It's awful. So I put it off to the side and took out another painting to work on (I find that working on multiple paintings at the same time sometimes causes me to not over work a piece but I swear, the face I wrecked took me about 5 minutes to destroy beyond recognition.)

And so I moved on to wreck two more paintings before I realized that some days you can actually do more damage than good by trying to be a good little work horse. I feel completely depressed. It's going to take me longer to fix my messes than it took me to paint the pictures to begin with.

Maybe if you're having an off day, you should only start NEW paintings, so at leaste you can't ruin things you did when you were in the zone that you might never get back again.

I was up until 4:30am last night and painted all day today (with a couple hour break to have dinner over at my friend Tom's house) and now my shoulder is in a lot of pain and all I have to show for all this endless toil is a wall lined with the corpses of previously successful paintings and another sink full of freakin dirty brushes.

I heard this great quote from an elementary school teacher whose students' artwork was so much better than all the other classes. Someone asked her what her secret was, and she said "the important thing is knowing when to take their brushes away."

I wish someone would do that for me.

Replies: 2 Comments

on Monday, April 5th, leahpeah said

hey..i want to do the trading card thing.

on Monday, April 5th,">Elise said

I tried to send you an email saying that I'd love to make a trade but I'm not sure it went through. Anyway, if it didn't just give me a week or so to get some finished.