From the ashes a fire shall be woken

Have you ever had a project that invoked a phrase something like, "I can't wait till this  @!% thing is over!" ? Well, that was my thought every time I showed up at the easel over these past few weeks (WEEKS!) to work on the Venice painting I posted about eons ago in my last blog. Awesome way to inspire creativity, eh? For some reason though, I couldn't let it go. I don't quite know why. It was like slowing down to look at an accident when you really didn't want to . Okay, that's a bit melodramatic.  Maybe more like continuing to watch a bad movie because you'd already invested so much time in it. Makes no sense, but  I guess I kept hoping that by overworking an already bad painting I would somehow be vindicated in the end.

Well, as you can imagine, it did not, in fact, end well. The painting was, I felt, dreadfully bad. And to add insult to injury, I had just spent multiple sessions of my precious new painting schedule (more about that in a minute) completely devoted to trying to fixa mess that I should have trashed after the 2nd session. It was pretty demoralizing and I still don't know why I put myself through it. The only thing I can come up with is that I am incredibly stubborn. And I think when I am tired or stressed, I must be moreso (ask the husband). I think I was out to prove that I could, at long last, finish SOMEthing (the effect of which took me about as far away from creative joy as I care to go.)

So no, I will not be sharing that painting here. It went promptly from the easel  into the trash and I wasn't about to photograph the ghastly thing. But something good has come from it, I think. It taught me more about surrender (a hard lesson I thought I'd "gotten" given the personal challenges of the past couple of years) and it revealed pretty much every one of my artistic weaknesses in a single painting, (now that's an accomplishment! ;) ) so it gave me a very clear picture of what kinds of things I need to seriously work on.

It also made me feel incredibly free, relieved, and happy to be staring at a blank canvas again. And this painting, I will it is it so far after about 2 sessions:

Regarding my new schedule, due to my need for sustained energy to care for a very active toddler at home, I have determined that mornings are by far my best time of day (by nightfall I am pretty much toast). So I have arranged to get up before the rooster crows, and get out in the studio for 2 hours before the husband leaves for work at 8:30 (whereupon I toss off the artist apron, superhero-style, and assume the role of full-on mommy!)

At present, I can only do this 3 days a week due to schedules, etc., but it gives me 6 hours of dedicated painting time, plus maybe a few more (if I play my cards right) on the weekend. Other than the fact that it is very hard  sometimes to be getting up so early, it so far it seems to be working okay. It's nothing like the vast swaths of luxurious time I had before my daughter, but there is a structure in place now, to in the very least, start developing some positive new artistic habits again. Hopefully with regular work habits  it will also mean I can get back to blogging regularly too! But first things first...