A similar sympathetic resonance exists between humans... given the right circumstances. Good feelings... moods and energy seem to elicit the same feelings from others around us. However... the opposite is true as well. Negativity and ill feelings breed similar states and responses if we are exposed to "the downers" in our world.
It really comes down to personal choices for each of us. Being with positive and uplifting people enhances our spirits... our health and well-being... and our creative energy. Each of these personal needs combine to create happy... healthy and motivated individuals.
In creating our art... we strive for excellence and to be different. Both are difficult tasks to achieve, and neither can be achieved overnight. The words strive to me... denotes a lifetime commitment to a path of learning that is exceedingly demanding of our time and resources. I have learned from my own experience... that despite having made many fine painting friends along the way... the downside is that this means we must search most of the time... alone.
If we are not alone physically... we must be alone intellectually to work out and to satisfy our own unique interests and needs. Often they collide... or are out of step at least... with those around us. WEe must strive to be our own very best critics because listening too closely to... or mimicking those we admire truly defeats the very goal of creation. We will never find the True Creative Self... that is contained and housed within each of us.
We should endeavour to self-critique continually... and ferociously... ridding ourselves of inferior ideas or works. Some paintings we make are cul-du-sacs... dead ends that lack depth or a level of quality that displays individual growth and excellence. Not all works deserve a signature... nor a place on the wall. They can be kept to remind us where we have come from... or they can keep us warm on a winter night in the fireplace.
There are pieces that deserve further thought and consideration. Laying them aside where they can be seen allows for germination and perhaps a new direction of thought and action. Here is an example of just such a piece that I have just spent "extra time" in the studio. It has lain around for a full year and quite frankly was one step away from being "frisbeed"
The painting was completed under very poor weather conditions last November. It was a typically dreary November day on the river... and I sought refuge from the weather under the eave of a friend's cottage. While the height above the subject was interesting to me... I could not resolve many parts of the painting because of having to fight with the canvas between showers. It lacked light... and most truthfully reflected accurately my own dismal interior feelings about the day.
Here is that grey and dismal plein air canvas... round one... to Mother Nature!
"Taylor Central" - oil on canvas 20x16 inches
I even returned to the original site at the best time of day to take advantage of better weather and lighting conditions. Still... the spirit of the place failed to move me enough to warrant reworking the canvas as I often do on occasions like this one... Second "verse"... same as the first!
So I made the decision to scratch the subject and not to waste further time trying "to make a bad painting better." I sanded away all of the peaks of pigment thoroughly and set the canvas aside for a "rainy day" ... in the studio. It was pre- toned for action at least!
Last week, my painting pal Frank and I went on a painting misadventure... our purpose to catch the last bit of fall colour hanging' about. Lots of digital images returned with us... but the day was a bust in terms of painting - disappointing for me!
A week or so later and I was sitting at my computer reviewing the pix we had taken on the trip and this p[articular landscape caught my eye almost immediately. At first... the reason was unclear to me why I should be attracted to this particular image. Then... as I looked over my shoulder towards the base of my easel, I caught sight of the recently sanded loser. It was lying exactly as you see it above... its original vertical position now horizontal. Here is the landscape image that caught my attention.
Can you see what resonated in my mind at that AHA moment???
Look at the larger shapes in both images. These major compositional lines and shapes share an uncanny similarity. Any differences can be easily reshaped to conform to the similar traits that they share
This image below shows my lay in loosely and quickly painted response... making use of the digital image to guide my brushwork. You can see that I take liberties and seek not to absolutely copy the photo... just as I customarily do when painting in the field. This stage took about an hour to complete. I took a break and came back to finish in a second hour at the easel.
This is the finished painting... in my humble opinion far superior to the original grey flop. I hope that this exercise that I have shared with you resonates the great sense of accomplishment and joy that I now feel in having not given up. Listen to your head and heart. Paint what you love... with commitment and energy. Make the process fun. Accept defeat graciously... but ALWAYS on your own terms.
Have the courage to take chances... and fail. Walter Campbell has this to say about failure:
"Where you stumble... there lies your treasure."
"Autumnshine, Blue Mountain Road" oil on canvas 16x20 inches
Good Painting!!!.. and "Good Vibrations"... to ALL!!!