Eye Study 2 (yes, it's my eye), 4 x 4 inch oil on panel.
© 2013 Kathleen Coy
**Warning! Angst-y artist post ahead!
I had a lovely comment yesterday on day 209 from Allison (thank you!) saying, "I'd love to read more about how you feel about your experience in your painting a day. How you've grown, how you've dealt with challenges, how its made a difference in your life and your art."
I plan to do a more detailed post about that when the year-long challenge is over, which is only 50! paintings away (the end of April.) Today was a tough day however, and I feel the need to talk about that a little, so I will say today that it definitely hasn't been ALL rainbows and unicorns. Today is almost over and here I am finally posting, because I found any excuse I could to put off painting today, because I just didn't feel like it. Actually, I've had a few days where I just want to curl up and cry (and have once or twice) at the thought of having to paint something. Not very often, but after almost a year of this, they do happen occasionally. I love what this project has done for my work, and it's been totally worth it, but some days I just want a break. (Remember, I'm often working on commissioned paintings at the same time as these daily paintings.)
I had coffee with a friend recently and she told me about a day-long women's retreat she went on, where the group leader told them, "today, you don't have to produce anything..." and the relief of that statement hit home for me how much stress this project has been. Wonderful and exciting and I've loved it for the most part, but stressful, too. I suppose I could give myself a break on days like that by slapping down a coat of paint and give a line of bs like "today I'm exploring this shade of red," or drip some paint around for 5 minutes and call it a tribute to Jackson Pollack, but that's just not me or what this project is about. However, there are days when I wonder if I'm abusing myself in my perfectionism and this stubborn need to hold myself accountable when I said I was going to do a painting every weekday for a year. Or is this just part of the struggle for anyone devoting themselves to a daily discipline and I shouldn't think so much about it? Thankfully, I was nice enough to give myself a few holidays off and smart enough to foresee I wouldn't last a year without weekends off (even though when you factor in commissioned paintings, I pretty much paint every day).
I love to paint, and I SO very much appreciate the growth I've experienced with this daily painting challenge - both artistically and in developing the discipline required. It's been truly amazing to live this experience unfolding in front of my eyes. But there are days when the "have to" part sucks. Everyone has days where they don't want to go to work, right? It usually goes away once I get started, or at least, when I put down an interesting brush stroke or mix a color just right - then the joy comes back. I try not to stress too much when days like this happen, because I've had my biggest breakthroughs after having a bad day (or week), so I just try to work through them, and know they will pass.
When the year is over in April, I still plan to paint most every day because I really do love it, but I love the thought of the pressure being off me of HAVING to complete a painting in a day if I don't feel like it. I also like the thought of a vacation when it's over. But after finishing 210 daily paintings, 50 more really doesn't seem like that many... I got this. Sorry for the "angst-y artist" post. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading, and thanks for being a part of my journey. I actually feel better now just from writing this. (Blog therapy?) Here's hoping for some rainbows and unicorns next week. I feel good about where I'm at. I'm excited to see what comes.