But I digress. This simple project will have about 7-10 canvas paintings, and I plan to do 4-6 studies on paper beforehand to get a feel for the colors. I can't duplicate a painting that I've done before, so I don't expect these studies to be transferred to canvas magically. But it's funny because while the studies of the first painting turned out to be pretty nice (see some of them here), the canvas has stymied me. The left side is nearly perfect; so much so that I've decided to not add windows to a building because the blank wall looks damn well. The left side is consistent and I believe it represents some of my best work, but the right side is wildly the opposite. I originally hoped that I could pound this out in a week, but it's looking more like a month-long painting at least. It turns out that painting is hard.
Of course I knew this. I'm not naturally gifted like many doodlers are, for example. If you ask me to draw a cat right now it'll be made of sticks. If I want to draw a good cat I need to really work at it, and that's fine. I enjoy the process of ups and downs quite a bit. Even the suffering is good. But this isn't my point. I believe it was Degas who once said that painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. It's a difficult concept to grasp as a painter, but I suppose all painters at least identify with it to some degree. As I progress in my abilities, I'm starting to have higher standards, to need specific tools, to mix paint to the right texture and consistency, to see a bad line from twenty feet away, or to know when to put the brush down and simply wait until I'm in the right frame of mind to identify what needs to come next. Perfect needs to feel right, and that feeling is becoming more and more powerful over time.
As someone who is always looking at the next achievement, it's difficult to look back down the curve and see how steep it was. I guess this is a good thing.