January 11, 2010

Must Be Present to Win

I was “stuck” in a painting which at some point during the creation of a piece is often the case. I wondered if I could get beyond that point of stuckness (yes, spellcheck, I know). Stopping, looking, wondering, thinking, and pulling up all the usual questions and answers I have on hand did not work.

Then I remembered my treasured move; one that comes so naturally I don’t usually have to think about it but for some reason the idea escaped me this time. Until now. It is my “must be present to win” trick. This is where I stop everything that is happening around me. No music, no interruptions, no food, no water, nothing except me and the painting. I start the stare-down and wait for it to happen. At the perfect moment, I jump in. I mean IN. I am not referring to plein air painting, when one stands next to what is being painted. I am talking about getting inside the painting. I must stand (in) there and be in that space to produce that feeling of co-existence with my painting, like wake-dreaming, and I know when I have arrived because all of a sudden the dust starts flying (or the brushes) and I can’t move fast enough! And then something happens. A phone rings, a dog barks, a fog horn howls in the distance and I stop. Realizing it is two hours later is thrilling but realizing my piece has painted itself is even more so. So, jump in, because in my opinion, you absolutely must be present to win and the thrill is, well, pure addiction.


  1. Great words of advice to accompany a beautiful work of art! Nice job! -Don

  2. What a fantastic idea! I usually 'leave'... and hope inspiration drags me back. Sometimes it does, sometimes not. I'm going to try your method next time. I love your blog, and your sensitive animal paintings especially.

  3. Thanks so much, Don and Kelley.

    Kelley, I hope this new method works for you :).


  4. Lovely landscape , beautiful painting.Like your style.

  5. Thank You so much for writing that! I love that feeling.

    I have always felt like it's THAT FEELING I am having in *that moment in time* that I hope my painting will record somehow in the pigments and very fibers of the paper. And maybe, somehow magic happened and others will be able to look at the painting and feel what I felt in that moment too.


  6. Found this through a link from Alisa on facebook, just have to say your work is AMAZING, I think I just became your biggest fan, your art is everything I strive for my art to be like! Also a great thought shared here, I usually leave like Kelley says, give it some time to breathe and when I come back I see how I need to continue, but perhaps I will try your method too next time.

  7. Rishi, Thank you so much for your kind comment.

  8. Hi Alisa,
    You are most welcome. Thank you for commenting. I know when I see your paintings I, indeed, see the magic! I am glad you decided to continue with your pastel work. It is beautiful.

  9. Wow, Laura, that is quite a compliment. It's funny how just when we need things they come along. I really appreciate your comment. Thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts.

    I hope your experiment with the new method yields something unexpected.

    May you find peace at the easel.