When you Don’t Know What to Do Next
What could be simpler than a flower bucket of Impatiens in front of the window? Right! For “Simplicity” a 1994 original watercolor, I first drew out the window, bucket and flowers, and painted the light understructure of the flowers. Flowers need freedom to go where they want, so let them ramble early. I’ve never forgotten the next day; everything looked so nice, I was afraid to continue. Fear destroys creativity, look with love instead. So I asked myself “What do I know to do now?” My simple answer was “Paint the whites.” After coloring the whites, I saw how to finish this painting. It was good to make a decision to work on one specific thing.
Paintings will stump all of us. Many times we ruin or quit on paintings about 3/4 of the way through. “Painting as a whole” means you build from underneath and develop many unfinished areas and keep balancing them together. At one point, it may not look at all like what you intended. Fighting with a painting then, can get destructive. Instead, enjoy your confusion and list options in a journal (keeping them for future ideas). This is where creativity comes from. Then choose which direction you like best and follow through. Amazingly, if you work with what is happening, usually it will come around and look somewhat like what you had hoped for or even better.
Here are some ideas to help you with your decision:
- Stop painting and put it away for a couple of days until you’re unattached emotionally.
- Photocopy your original drawing and simplify it into 2 or 3 values.
- Create a new color sketch.
- Take a photo with your phone of your piece where you are stuck, print it out and paint on that.
- A deadline approaching, look at your painting in a mirror for a fresh look.
Do you know a child who is home who would enjoy reading a picture book today?
Order any of my books and I can sign them for the child too!
Maybe you would like my painting book?
“One comes away from this insightful book not only better informed about painting, but also with a renewed sense of motivation and inspiration.” -John T- Salminen AWS-DF, NWS