Plateaus and Congruencies
Playing around is useful.
This painting is kind of a mess, but it's pleasing to me, and it happened almost entirely by accident. Three "learning experiences" are buried underneath what you see--a flying woman, a cloud, a star-eating bird--and all of those experiences were intentional. Last night, tired and frustrated because the flying woman was not what I wanted her to be, I nuked it: smeared the last of the paint on my palette onto the board. Then I squirted some craft-grade paint onto it and smeared that around. Then I carved into it with a painting knife... and something charming came out of it. I didn't expect the colors underneath to show as well as they did through the paint on top, and now I have something new (to me) to try intentionally with a planned painting, if I so choose.
You can always start over.
I considered throwing away the board that this was painted on because I so disliked the first painting on it. Really, I buried it under a stack of papers and ignored it for five months. Then, just for kicks, I decided to paint a cloud on it. It was all right. Then I covered that with off-white and used it as the ground for a painting of a flying woman. (I could go into detail about my goals and lessons from each of those, but they aren't the point). Then I did the thing you see above. Each time, I began again, building a new city on top of the city that had been there before, and something good came out of it all, even if the previous city had fallen into ruin.
Don't throw away what can be recycled.
It wasn't merely that I started over on the board, but what had come before was reused in largely unexpected ways. I could not have foreseen the above painting when I was working away at the bird.
I've talked about this before, but in essence, I need to remember to keep going. At some point the work will be so ugly and yet-to-be-born that I will want to throw it out. Eventually that will pass and it will become something better.
Flaws can become strengths.
The last painting underneath this one was bright. That was intentional, after a fashion, as I was going for cartoony brightness (inspired, if you please, by the often surprisingly well painted backgrounds on a certain animated television show), and for a form modeled without any blending whatsoever--just bands of different values to indicate the shadows and highlights. It didn't work, partly because I just don't have a good enough grasp of anatomy, let alone with no reference, and partly because the painting had ALL OF THE COLORS ALL OF THEM EVERYTHING I COULD SNATCH FROM THE RAINBOW. This was intentional overreach, as a painting last month had problems for similar reasons, and I wanted to try something similar but different... and it ended up not mattering. Without that "mistake," I would not have had all of the colors that peek through the slashes in the overall yellow-green of the foreground of the painting that resulted. Something went wrong on the previous journeys, but they led somewhere useful, even if it was not the intended destiantion.