Lately, when I plan on finishing a painting in one sitting, I’ll share my progress every fifteen minutes in a story on Instagram. What I love about sharing paintings in real time is also what frightens me about the process.
Announcing these Instagram stories is a commitment. There is at least one minute while creating each of my paintings when I think I should give up because it isn’t turning out the way I want. When I am painting alone, no one knows if I abandon a painting or start over. They are not invested in the outcome because they are unaware of the process.
The progress posts push me to follow through with difficult paintings — I am always happy when I do.
Last week, I shared my progress on a watercolour called “Cosmic River”. This was terrifying for two reasons. I have been using acrylic paints regularly for over a decade, but only took up watercolour painting a year ago. I wanted to use a technique I had never tried before for this painting. I was also trying a new subject with this medium. With two unknown variables, I had no idea how this painting would turn out.
I am not afraid others won’t like a painting — we all have different interests and likes. I am also part of an incredible and supportive Instagram community so I don’t fear abuse or bullying. It doesn’t worry me when one of my paintings isn’t that ‘good’ compared to my others.
What scares me is when a painting is going great.
When I love how the painting looks right now, but I am not done yet. Sharing that moment with the world frightens me because everyone will know if I ruin it.
Painting has always been a solo sport for me. My husband is also an artist so we usually create together, but it’s a quiet, shared space kind of together. We are each in our own world of comfortable silence with music in the background and tea or wine in our hands.
I love this atmosphere. It is the best environment for many of my paintings, but when I am trying new techniques, the excitement of collaboration pushes me to face challenges and finish what I started.
Inviting more people into my painting has been rewarding. I feel connected with those around me and this brings a new dynamic into what I create.
I look forward to sharing more of my paintings with you.
I am always looking for similar challenges so if you have an idea, please reach out and share it with me on Twitter, Instagram, or in a response.