Friday, January 22, 2010

Battling my Phobias

During the holidays I took so many pictures for the portrait, trying to see which had the most interesting lighting, which were more expressive of who Gaston, the sitter, was. And finally after many comings and goings, croppings and fiddling with pictures, I chose the one above. I liked the profile pose, liked the way his hands are illuminated and in the foreground, I find hands are, after faces, the most expressive part of a person. It was so funny, I was trying to balance a light that kept falling on its side, keeping him focused, trying to see in my head if it was going where I intended. It was fun. Then, once the choice was made, is where I got into trouble. When there is some time in which I don't paint, in this case with the holidays, family gatherings, the fact I had finished all the previous work I had, I had too many days to think, that is when I begin to get into my painter's block mode. When I think too much is when the insecurity sets in. "Will I be able to do this, is it the right picture, is the composition right?". You get the picture, no pun intended.... So I procrastinate, make a grid to transfer my sketch, take long with it, so I will not have to face the canvas, until I finally get hold of myself and say: "You have been through this before, it is auto-destructive, you know that when you begin you will enjoy it, painting makes you happy, why are you doing this?" The answer is not simple, it is this phobia born of perfectionism, of the fear of not being good enough. In that is what I have been working, in reasoning what is good enough?, good enough for whom?Is doing nothing better? And no, it is not better, I know that when the work is finished I will learn to love it in its imperfection, knowing I did my best, that it will probably be better than other I did before, that you learn as you work, and that it is a stepping stone towards the next work that, ideally, will be better than this. But I go through this inner fight EVERY TIME, oh well, I will have to learn to live with myself... not easy.
So finally, the canvas is not white anymore, I have begun sketching, tomorrow I will put some color, just to break the ice, and block some shapes.
The sketch looks so naked, so flat with no color or shading....
In the picture you see there is a desk and a file cabinet, that will disappear, there will be a bigger desk in front of him - will also try to simplify the background, that bookshelf is too busy, so I will put less detail in it. What I love in this picture is the play of light and shadow, how some parts of the figure disappear into the shade... that was what I was looking for. I was inspired in the lighting used in some movies - they use light to create a mood and focus in the main character, this is the same idea.
I will be posting my progress, or lack thereof, in pictures in the next days.