Foggy thoughts

This morning, while painting, I kept asking myself: who am I painting for. For me? For you? For “posterity”? I ended telling myself just paint. But how do I know when a painting is good? I have to keep going on a painting until it feels right. And right to me can change from one day to the next. So it takes time to know if a painting is good. And it has to feel right (to me) to be good.

Sometimes someone comes into my studio and becomes enthusiastic about a painting that, to me, is still in progress, not finished. This doesn’t happen as often as it used to but it can, sometimes, still throw me, set me off track, at least for a little bit.

Last summer a couple visited from Montreal and picked out a painting, saying they would get back to me. So, needing to support my painting habit, I set it aside, thinking I might work on it later if I didn’t hear from them. That same painting was singled out by several other people. I had it photographed for the Montreal couple. Currently, the image of that painting is featured in a magazine and on a local calendar for 2013. It wouldn’t have been my choice but I wasn’t consulted. Still, I don’t particularly relate to this painting even now. It must have something in it I don’t see. Maybe, it really is okay, but just doesn’t fit into the vision I have for my work. Maybe it is a little side path; or maybe it will become the main road someday. That does happen and it is always surprising when it does: when I am ahead of myself in a particular piece and don’t know it yet.

At the opening reception for my recent exhibition at the Secord Gallery, someone asked me which painting was my favorite. I didn’t (and don’t) have one. I had a better feeling about this show than any other. I paint a lot so not every piece is what I consider my best. But I would still like it if they were. I learn as much from the failures as the good ones. It’s just that the good ones are so special. Of course, I would like nothing to leave my studio that is not the best. But it does happen. It’s only when someone’s positive response to a piece I don’t like stops me from continuing, that I have a problem. Then I feel I’ve let myself down, not been true, honest. And to me, painting, like all the arts, is a search for the truth.

About leyaevelyn

About thirty years ago, I moved from New York City to rural Nova Scotia. For an artist, it is a good place to live. Spacious and quiet. Despite the beautiful scenery and frequently grey skies, my abstract paintings focus on color, its expressive qualities and how it creates form and space.
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6 Responses to Foggy thoughts

  1. Sue says:

    For whom do you blog?

    You are sharing your world wiith others–and it’s a lovely world.

    Thank you.

  2. As an artist/poet/writer I can tell you that most of the arts is BS. For myself I like to work on several different things at the same time. Keeps me from getting stuck. And at some point I either stop or realize I should have stopped earlier. Marketing is the other tool you need and I’m awful at it. Most artists are. Successful artists (success meaning sales) love to gab. They love to have fun with the public. Which makes them successful. Of course I have not been successful (making a living) so perhaps I’m not the one to take advice from. (And never end a sentence with a preposition.)

    • leyaevelyn says:

      The BS, self-promotion part of “the arts” I can easily agree with. I have no other decent income than my artwork so I have to learn that one. I feel it is a very important lesson for me.

      I also work on may kinds of art at the same time. And many paintings at the same. I even try writing but am more insecure there. I do admire your works and would enjoy seeing you publicly successful.

  3. Leya, I can totally relate to your comments about paintings of yours that other’s love, that you don’t. That happens to me too sometimes. It works the other way and often the painitngs that I love are not seen that way by others. So I wonder if it means I can’t judge my work or if I have another sensibility than others or maybe it’s a bit of both!?
    While it is especially gratifying to love the end result, it is the thrill of the process of painting that is the best part. The finished painting feels like another entity.
    And the person who comes to own that painting layers it with their own feelings and connections and that is kind of wonderful too.

    • leyaevelyn says:

      I agree with you, Flora. Connections are the bottom line, no matter my own personal feelings, likes and dislikes. But years ago, when I was first painting, this kind of experience could send me under the covers for a couple of weeks!

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