Sunset Road: 1 & 2

Sunset Road 1
Sunset Road 2

I realized that I’m stuck in a bit of a rut as far as my paintings go. I think part of the reason I’m stuck here is because I’m trying to do too much, and I’m listening very closely to my inner critic. In my mind, as I paint, there are a slew of teachers and artists from every video I’ve watched saying “No no no” and “Bad bad bad.” “Never do this.” And “It’s ok to do that.” The criticism I’m giving myself as I paint gets in the way of my goal, which is to just show something beautiful.

Tonight, because I’m so deafened by that inner critic, I decided to paint something that would piss him off. I decided to get garish colors, to paint a trite sunset, to put the viewer in the middle of the road where he shouldn’t be. I decided to make an overly simple composition, and use the wrong brush for everything. The results are above.

I also decided to pretend to like my paintings from now on. I am sick of the inner critic winning so often, I’m sick of looking at every painting and seeing the failure. So, I’m going to start pretending to like my paintings. I’m going to be unafraid of criticism. I’m going to paint with more abandon, and care less about whether or not my painting is amateurish or wrong. I’m going to say I like these paintings – that I’m proud of them – even that *gasp* they are good.

I won’t apologize any more. I won’t hide behind inexperience. I won’t rip them all to pieces and showcase my insecurities any more. I’m going to paint what I want, how I want, and I’m going to force myself to admire the outcome until I actually do like what lands on the paper. If I do it right, it won’t be obvious when I’m pretending to like a painting, and when I really do. I need to kick the shit out of this inner critic, and this seems like a safe way to do that.

But first, I’m going to rest.

I have painted almost every day for the past seven months (I think I’ve missed maybe twenty days total), and I think I should stop for a bit – let my inner artist sleep and rest. I’m going to take two weeks off of painting. It’s going to be a challenge for me. And I’m kind of worried that if I do, I won’t come back. But I’m starting to realize that “improving” and “learning” has taken over this hobby for me. I want to improve, I want to learn. But more than being “good” I want to make something beautiful. I don’t want to care if it’s wrong, as long as it’s beautiful.

As for these paintings – I actually do like them. They are good renditions of that mood when the sun is setting after a light rain. I like the fact that it’s during sunset. I like the way the colors wash together. I like the perspective, and the illusion of depth created by blurred, grey atmosphere. I like the shadows and the way the road looks wet, as if it has rained recently. I like the lighting, and the way the light is trapped in the puddles that aren’t puddles in the road. And, I think these are both beautiful, and well crafted.

See you in a couple of weeks.