Posts Tagged ‘Rainwashed Boardwalk’

Is Artistic Suffering Really Necessary?

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

A couple of my artist colleagues were recently discussing why some paintings seem to paint themselves and others drain us with the effort they take. I thought it was a question well worth considering.

When I began painting, I was conscious of learning something new every time I tackled a new project. Whether I began each one with a goal in mind to learn a specific skill or was merely conscious of problem solving throughout the process, my skills developed rapidly. I am convinced that the consistent effort contributed to my improvement as much as any how-to lessons did.

130804 Rainwashed Boardwalk

Every painting we undertake increases our experience and gets us that much closer to whatever level we strive to reach. Sometimes a painting flows easily because it doesn’t challenge us the way a more difficult one does. The fact that it comes out well with little effort should be an affirmation that we’ve reached a certain level of both competency and comfort in our work.

On the other hand, the paintings we struggle with should also encourage us because the struggle means that, consciously or unconsciously, we’re problem solving and are still working to advance our abilities rather than accepting less than satisfying results.

When it comes to painting, there’s always something more to learn, but not every painting has to challenge us beyond our current abilities. Sometimes it’s okay to allow ourselves to simply enjoy the flow when it happens.