Well, it’s true. One day you can just completely be on a roll, like the 45 minutes I spent on “Wave”, and on another all the valves are shut and you’re exhausted from spinning out multiple iterations that just aren’t quite right.
Take my latest two photographs “Mix” and “Trails”, for instance. They both happened within a half an hour period – they were just there. As in, snap the picture, make a few tweaks and we’re rolling. They were just that simple. One came from the cake my wife was making for my son’s birthday and the other from my daughter’s “grocery list”. But again, it just goes to show you how little, mundane things can contain layers of beauty, assuming you can dig deeper to find them.
On the other hand, you get a painting like “Worked”, which is basically just a description of how I felt when I finished with it. I must’ve spent two or three hours straight just pushing paint around with my palette knife - painting, scraping clean, and painting again. [Quick aside - one of the interesting, and sometimes frustrating, things about oil paint and color mixing is that the more you mix colors, the more gray they become. Which means if you want a pure shot of some color when you’ve put yourself into said predicament, you have to take paint off before reapplying new, otherwise you just get a soupy, muddy mess.] It’s not as though there weren’t versions that I didn’t like (see the photo of my other painting “Work Out”). Sometimes you move away from what you did and wish you could go back, which only adds to the stunted process. In some ways, it felt like I was in a boxing ring, getting mentally worked over until I finally capitulated, my creative reserves being tapped out.
But that’s the way it goes. Somedays you catch all the lights and other days it takes two hours to go five miles.