Where's The Balance?

16"x 8"
acrylic on canvas

May was a challenging month.

I was fortunate to be in two art shows, but needed to paint at least 10 pieces within a few weeks.
I kept thinking, "I hope I can do this." "I hope this works".

That's why Seth Godin's blog post caught my eye:

" 'This better work'

... is probably the opposite of, "this might work."

"This better work," is the thinking of safety, of proven, of beyond blame.

"This might work," on the other hand, is the thinking of art, innovation and insight.

If you spend all day working on stuff that better work, you back yourself into a corner, because you'll never have the space or resources to throw some 'might' stuff into the mix. On the other hand, if you spend all your time on stuff that might work, you'll never need to dream up something that better work, because your art will have paid off long ago."

On the one hand, I was thankful for the shows and the deadline and the challenge to get the work done. I didn't have time to over think. I just painted. I produced more than I thought I could. In fact, I believe that two of my favorite pieces were the result of the time constraint. I was thinking, "this might work" and it did!

On the other hand, I sometimes felt that I was rushing the process and working just to get done and not taking the time needed to paint something great.

Yesterday, without a deadline looming over me, I found myself spending hours sifting through my photos, trying to decide on something to paint. Something that 'better work'. I looked and cropped and thought and doubted. Should I? Shouldn't I? Is it good?

I didn't get any painting done.

For me, there seems to be a fine line between having enough space to create the stuff that 'might' work (within which I find the stuff that 'does' work)


having TOO much space and time to, over think, over plan and never do.

Where's the balance?!

I need to use the time to paint and know that it 'might work' and if it doesn't, I still have time.


patrickgracewood said...

Annie, I can sympathize. I think the result is the art. We learn by creating, often most from our mistakes. Thinking it through is very important but our art comes down to the physical act. You can always cull a lesser work of art, but you can not show someone a "maybe" concept. Back to your sketchbook to think? xp

Celeste Bergin said...

I, too, identify with what you are saying. I have to remind myself that there was a time when I didn't know what to paint...because I didn't know why I was painting. When I have an event to paint for, I am grateful to have a reason. On the other hand! I also enjoy just painting whatever I want. Balance is definitely the key! (I love that Seth Godin guy--he is so smart!)

Marian Fortunati said...

Pressure can sometimes spur us on to wonderful things and sometimes it can paralyze us...
I wish you the positive side of pressure!

Kim Rempel said...

Lovely Annie. The sunlight coming through those swim trunks is great - the colour glows. It's all done beautifully. And yes - you know, I haven't really verbalized it like that but when I am feeling like a piece "HAS to work" it is often weak. And I guess it is because that searching spirit that I would normally approach a piece with is strangled because I don't think I have the luxury of taking the time to explore. Thanks for posting that. Another mental note to file away.

Dewberry Fine Art said...

Love this one. I have 3 boys and this could be any one of them. Wonderful light and shadow and capturing a moment.

SKIZO said...



Susan Roux said...

I like this painting.

Over thinking. Wow, now there's a subject! We're all guilty of it. For me, if I paint for fun, for myself, as oppose to painting for my galleries, I always have better results. Perhaps I think less then and don't put predetermined expectations on myself.

Couldn't we just discuss this all day long...?

monajonescordell said...

the painting has a loaded simplicity to it. i want to join him, take his hand as we wait for the next wave. wonderful annie.

Joan Breckwoldt said...

This is a great post, thank you for sharing your thoughts so eloquently. Your paintings are beautiful.

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