I’m stuck. The painting above is about half to three-quarters finished and somehow I have become attached – invested. The arbutus driftwood, sandstone and tide pool have drawn me into a deadly web of “don’t touch it!” When I’m painting with watercolours, more than with any other of my creative processes, I must work from a place of detached emotional clarity. Watercolors are transparent like steps in the sand. Every move shows until you start a new sheet (or the tide comes in).

Sometimes, if I wait for a few days the next step will become clear and release me from the fear of “ruining everything.” I’ve waited two weeks. Nothing. Sometimes, if I move the painting to a new location and see it in different light I can decided what is next. Still nothing. In fact, I’m even more attached than before I took the darn thing out of the studio. Yet, I know the painting is not finished. This means only one thing. I must push through allowing my intuition to guide me into new learning.

I must firmly say to my self: “It is water, colour pigment, and paper. That is all.”

If a muddy puddle of coloured water with mushy paper is all that is left by tomorrow, I shall compost it in the flower bed. If I end up with a finished painting, I will consider it the first in an exhibit I’m building about the arbutus tree. Either way, I shall take a photo of the results and share them with you.

Sprout Question: Has there ever been a time when you were stuck and finding it difficult to finished a creative piece? What did you do?

p.s. If you hear little from me until late tomorrow, I’m painting…or possibly composting.

© 2010 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

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19 thoughts on “Stuck

  1. hi! oh yes, how many times have I been here? What would happen if you turned it upside down and then painted with abandon knowing you might have to toss it later, but have fun with the blocks of color and shapes for now?

    please report on how it goes?!

  2. Sprout Question: Has there ever been a time when you were stuck and finding it difficult to finish a creative piece?

    Yes, I’ve been in that place many times. When it happens, I push myself to “free fall” into it (like a skydiver from the mouth of a plane) and write everything that flows – not dissecting it down to the gnat’s whisker regarding potential reader response. Once done, I typically have a completed piece that’s both informative and engaging.

  3. Hi, Just try this out, Terrill I used to do drawing, painting, etc., Find some good classical music or Canadian tenors , play softly close you eyes, relax. We near got in the multible creative arts of expression, they are inter related. common bonding vision, sound and movemen emotion . Hope it works.
    See you all the best Bob.

    • Thanks Bob… I haven’t composted it yet:) I am going to use your music suggestion for my next and likely close to final sitting with this painting. I’m so glad you came by Creative Potager and answered today’s sprout question.

      Bob has been sharing his expertise in photography with me and is flickr friend.

  4. Hey Terrill,
    I have done everything from taking a photo of a piece of art work and looking at that, doing the upside down thing Tobin mentioned, to looking at a painting through a mirror, and even letting it sit (sometimes for way too long – 2 years and then brought an oil painting to finished in 2 hrs). Persevere …. knowing that magic can happen even if that means a fresh start.

    • Hello Sue (and for those of you that don’t know – Sue is my sister and also an artist) Sue, I took Tobin’s advice this morning and turn the painting upside down for the first stretch. It seem to really help shake things loose. I think I will try your idea with the mirror next. I have a couple of angles to correct and curves to build, this should help. And HEY! thanks for coming by and answering today’s sprout question:)

      • I just want to add – a huge “thank you” to my wide network of friends and family from twitter, facebook, Gaia and Flickr who have chipped in to answer today’s sprout question. There is now a thread with ample great ideas for getting “unstuck.” Amazing – that is what you all are. This is social networking at its best!

  5. Yup, right now, and for the last few years. I’m always stuck writing songs. I can come up with great ideas quickly, but quite often get stuck on how to make it complete. I’ve recently starting finishing some songs that I’ve had going for maybe over 4 years.

    • Congratulations Ryan! (and Ryan is my soon to be son-in-law and a serious musician – we have a big family of creative people:)

      It is so satisfying to complete pieces of work that have been haunting my nights for years. I have a book started that is getting close to its third year incubating with only the introduction written – more on that next week.

    • Thanks Sam – good you could come by:) About an hour ago I ready to mulch the thing but I contained myself and went and had dinner instead. Funny, it seemed a bit better when I came back to the studio. I’ve promised myself I won’t pick up my brushes again until daylight.

    • Tobin, thanks for asking. I’m just about to take a photo of it – been waiting for enough light through the heavy clouds. I have decided I have done all I can with it and I will keep it, though I wouldn’t consider it one of my best paintings it has a lot of learning it in. I will have a new Creative Potager post up before noon and feature it then.

      I will check with my Sue to see if she has any of her work on-line and one of us will get back to you.

    • Thanks Tobin, I’ve been waiting all day for someone to say they liked this first image better than the final painting. But it hasn’t happened – yet:) It is a very vulnerable place for me showing my work in progress. However, I think it is important for those that appreciate art to know that it doesn’t just happen – at least not all the time. And even when it does, there is a history of experience and learning that has lead up to the “happening.” (I made a live link for you in your comment – hope that is okay)

  6. OH, glad you made live link for ‘unstuck‘. do it again 🙂

    You are being quite brave. I find sharing any and all of it brings me insights to my own process – there is so much involved in bringing a piece to completion.

    • Just for you Tobin, I will. I find that limiting the comment tool bar to just the moderator is a disadvantage. I would love for sprout responders to be able to link to there own work in there comment or to some other link that enhances their point. But maybe that will come later. As for being quite brave – that is exactly how it feels and you are right about the insights and not all of them end up only applying to the painting.

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