|On The Trail, 30x36, acrylic painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki|
What to do when doubt starts gnawing at the easel legs, nibbling in the back of my mind and something round, heavy and cold nests in the pit of my stomach?
Talk it through.
Dozen Tips for The Easel Monologue
1. Stop and look.
2. What bothers you about this painting? Name just one thing.
- Rest your eyes, then come back and observe your emotions. Your eye will lead you to the problem, but your empathy will try to hide it. Notice this.
3. What is it about that one thing that bothers you?
- Does it kill the spirit of the piece?
- What would happen if you accepted it for what it was?
4. Are you holding onto some preconceived idea?
- Consider alternatives.
- What is the most compelling one?
5. Is the painting evolving in a way you didn’t foresee?
- Does the change in direction feel harmonious?
- Embrace happy accidents.
6. Are you fighting instead of developing?
- Does your fixation create an obstacle?
- Tactics are as important as strategies.
7. Are you giving this painting what it needs?
- It’s not about you, it’s about art.
- Give the painting what it needs, not what you need. That’s the deal.
8. Are you judging this painting by someone else’s criteria?
- Remember your mom saying how neat and well behaved the neighbor’s kid was? That’s what you are doing now.
9. Are you afraid of your work's uniqueness?
- It takes guts to stand alone when everyone else has picked a team.
- You've got guts.
10. Are you afraid of your work's familiarity with works of predecessors?
- Your island is a part of an archipelago.
- Cherish your work's family ties.
11. Can you see development in your work over time?
- That one brilliant early painting is not representative of your early skills.
- That one painting you spoiled a few days ago is not representative of your present skills.
12 Do you love your work?