Monday, October 10, 2011

Plein Air Follow-through—More or Less

Well, after all my posturing about getting out of the studio and painting en plein air, I made myself do it! I mean, what could be better than a 70° autumn day in New Hampshire?
I started with a pencil sketch and quickly got bored and my back started aching. Once I sketched out the basic lines, I switched to an indelible black ink marker and wondered why I was even bothering.
The Perfectionist sitting on my shoulder, whispered, “You call yourself an artist? Is that what you call perspective? You haven’t laid down one plum line! And that, after resorting to an eraser!”
“What—you think I can’t see that?” I kept at it, telling myself that I really hate sketching. I was about to abandon my aspiration and simply call it an attempt. Then my Motivational Critic jumped in.
“What! You’re not even going to follow through and break out the paint—Oh, how pathetic are you!”
So, I cracked open my paint. After about 60 seconds, I got bored again and just wanted it to be over with, so started laying down paint more quickly (it dawned on me that this was likely what I should have been doing in the first place).
I shrugged the Perfectionist off my shoulder and heard my MC whisper, “At least you can say you tried and followed through—good for you!”
“But I don’t have to do this again, do I?”
“Well, did you have fun?”
“Not really.”
“Then why do it?”
“I don’t know— It’s such a romantic notion…I just really wanted to be the artist who could whip out my paints anywhere and produce something really stellar.”
“I feel as if I’m stagnating in the studio.”
“Really? But you produce some pretty remarkable stuff in there. You like it—I’ve seen how you study it afterward with satisfaction. Why can’t you be happy with that?”
“I’m not sure…”
“Well, you need to figure that out.”
“Yeah, I know…maybe I’ll carry my paints and tablet around just in case…”
Sigh. “Whatever…”