This weekend I felt like I finally found some “magic” again in my painting.

It’s probably only been a month, but when I’m struggling to make paintings work, the times when it all comes together with confidence and power seem light-years away. I filled a lot of paper with paint in September, but wasn’t feeling like any of it quite worked the way I was hoping. Fall is so beautiful, I quickly fall into frustration that my paintings can really only capture glimpses of a perfect fall moment.

Art is kind of like that; elusive. A continual striving to express what I see and feel just a little more eloquently. Stuttering and the words coming out wrong.

I painted five versions of the painting below, and each one fell short of what I saw in my memory and my reference photos. It was frustrating to want to do so much, and fall short every time. Plus I had a stressful week, and my whole life was feeling like a painting that wouldn’t come together. I don’t often feel angry, and I don’t like it much, so I decided to channel my anger into painting. I rebelliously closed my reference photo so I could paint it not to capture what I was seeing, but just let go and go a little nuts. It was exactly what I needed. This is a first layer painting, and I do need to go back to it and add a few (a very few) details, but has an energy and emotion that was lacking in the earlier paintings. That anger made me forget the rules that made the previous versions stiff and empty of emotion.

From there I attacked other paintings with the same energy and verve.

A first layer that needed some detail came together easily in my “nothing to lose” bold attack. 

And as I painted, the anger dissipated, and the energy remained, turning into my favourite expression of joyful exuberance. 

I live for the moments when I feel like I can do nothing wrong, and my boldest strokes are also my best.

Each painting shown here today is a work in progress, needing a few details to get to the finished stage.