Saturday, March 10, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect

I've been painting with acrylics today, working on a small, manga-like image on paper for an upcoming show.
I've noticed that my brush skills have improved again. It tends to happen when I'm happy. This new painting is hard-edged, but I can now do the very fine, precise lines it requires without agonising over them. I've also managed to eliminate a middle stage of the technical process. It hasn't made a lot of difference in terms of time – painting in this way is always time-consuming – but every little bit counts.
It has made a difference in my interest level. I've always enjoyed working out how to turn an idea into an image, but actually executing it used to be slow and mind-numbing. Sometimes I felt like an industrial robot, repeating each step over and over in order to refine it. I was plagued by anxiety and self doubt. I so badly wanted the surface of the work to be perfect that I felt I had to experiment with several alternative strategies before I could commit to one. And yet, every time, the strategy I would go with was always the same. I wasn't even conscious of this until my current boyfriend pointed it out.
Now, I work without any hesitation or need for certainty. It's an enormous relief, at last, to have faith in my own process.

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