I’ve gotten very active on Instagram these days. Perhaps you seen my posts.
I share a lot of my work as a process because it gives me a way to let folks into the inner workings of what I do and how a painting gets to be finished work of art. I’ve noticed a very strange, to me, phenomenon when I do that. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Instagram, one posts a picture of anything, as well as leaving a caption or remarks about it. It’s possible for a viewer to leave a comment responding to the post but more frequently, people double tap on the image and that indicates”like” it with a heart.
The thing that is puzzling to me is that I frequently get more likes on an image in the very early stages than I do as the painting becomes more resolved.
And when the painting is complete and I posted it, I feel like I have to really work to get signs of approval, the likes.
I think this is because people respond to the freeness and intuitive nature of my paintings with the first pass of color. Like me, they respond from the gut, the colors and shapes and how they have put themselves together. For this stage, I work very loosely and hardly thinking consciously about what I’m doing. I just select colors and lay them down with a variety of tools, and in whatever forms might meet my fancy at the moment. It is frequently fairly random.
I think the response to the early phase is a visceral one. It too is just a reaction to the stimuli. At that point in time, the painting is filled with possibilities and opportunities and you don’t need to be an artist to see and feel them. But as the painting progresses and I make more and more conscious decisions on the direction of the painting, I am narrowing my options and also those of my viewer. This is my job. It is required that I do this in order to complete the painting. However, my choices may not be just what my viewer may have chosen. There are many moments where it does not look its best. And just like you, at those times I do not like the painting nearly as much as I did at the start when it was filled with possibility. As in any projects of creation, there are challenges and things that don’t work so well. The job of the creator is to keep working to overcome these challenges and push through the passages that don’t work so well.
At the end, I hope that you will like the painting again, once I have solved and resolved the issues. But it is truly out of my hands at that point and I don’t work for “likes” but rather to send my creations into homes and workplaces of people for whom they bring joy.and with them, a piece of my spirit.