I just watched a video of Eddie Martinez claiming to be one of the most impatient people in the world. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like his paintings so much!
I'm an oil painter who does not have the patience (or the time) literally, to sit and wait for the paint to dry!
P A T I E N C E . . .
Not a new concept, definitely a virtue, and for me a never-ending challenge inside the art studio and out.
Maria Popova's recent musings on the seven greatest things she's learned as the creator of brain pickings include:
#7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”
... As I’ve reflected elsewhere, the flower doesn’t go from bud to blossom in one spritely burst and yet, as a culture, we’re disinterested in the tedium of the blossoming. But that’s where all the real magic unfolds in the making of one’s character and destiny.Although she was referring more to success in life, I'm talking about patience in the studio. My work may be process oriented, aka 'the tedium of the blossoming', but that doesn't make me any more patient. Lately I've been forcing myself to think about it more and more.
For the most part I'm a fast painter and I like to work on human sized canvases like four to five feet. Since I've been working on a much smaller scale lately, this patience thing has become a lot more relevant. Painting small is really tough for me. Those canvases fill up fast! There's a moment when you're painting, you get a feeling that if you don't walk away from it right that second you'll destroy it and never be able to get it back.
|one of four smaller paintings still very much in progress|
In the mean time I have a real need to keep going, be busy, keep moving, so... on to the next canvas, and the next, and back around again. If I'm in a good place and things are moving quickly, I can finish a 5 foot painting in a week or two.
Needless to say, I have a lot of paintings piled up. What I'm suddenly realizing, though, is this pressing need to slow it all down. I need to be more consistent, more cognizant of what's working and where it's all going. It's like when you (well I don't know if they even give typing tests anymore) take a typing test for a job and you can type a thousand words a minute but half of them are spelled wrong. It's time to slow down and get it right.
Of course if I could apply this idea to all the other tedious everyday things I have no patience for, I'd be in really good shape! I am a counter of days, counting back to the past and ahead to the future. I am very aware of the time and the date. I clock my hours. I write lists and letters and blog posts and journal entries. I keep track of things. Sometimes I wish I could go to bed and wake up a week later, problems miraculously resolved. Like going on a diet, you expect to lose 10 pounds in a week and suddenly every day is dragging on like it'll never end. There's a part of me that can't help it and says, but if time is the great healer, let's go already!
Patience would mean slowing down a lot, and being perfectly happy with that. Patience would mean standing still long enough to let the moment have its moment. That seems useful... and good. Some moments need more time. How long does this one need?
Some paintings need more time, and that's what I'm trying to appreciate. In the meanwhile I'll just keep tacking those new canvases to the wall...
t a c k
t a c k
t a c k
Here's an interesting article for further reading: Patience and Painting