HEAD KNIGHT: Firstly, you must find... another shrubbery! [dramatic chord]
ARTHUR: Not another shrubbery!
HEAD KNIGHT: Then, when you have found the shrubbery, you must place it here beside this shrubbery, only slightly higher so you get a two-level effect with a little path running down the middle.
RANDOM: A path! A path! Nee!
HEAD KNIGHT: Then, when you have found the shrubbery, you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest... with... a herring! [dramatic chord]
ARTHUR: We shall do no such thing!
- from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 31
It was one of those days. Eight hours (yep, EIGHT) in the studio and the painting was not fit for man nor beast. So I took a break and made a cup of coffee. Except I forgot to put coffee in it and didn't notice until I took a sip of, well, hot water. ACK! Clearly my mojo was off. Time for a break. A little Facebook check-in, and a message from a wise friend telling me to breathe. So took a few deep breaths, went back into the studio and did what any sane person would do - I started all over again.
Trying to paint when you're not in the zone is like cutting down a mighty tree with a herring. You can work at it all day long and have nothing but something super smelly in your hands. And perhaps a big bucket of frustration next to your chair. But there is always something to be learned, even in failure. The painting I worked on all day was an epic failure. A real stinker-oo. A nose-pincher.
What did I learn? Other than some color, composition, texture and line lessons (so many lessons!) I learned sometimes a deep breath or two can re-start your mojo. And that it is ok to scrap one painting and start another. By the end of the day, the above piece appeared, fluid, intuitive, flowing and then done.
So I decided to start a third painting while I was back in flow, got a juicy background down, singing a happy little tune, reached to grab a brush and then SPLAT. Dumped a tub of gesso over the new background (and my table and the floor). Sigh. Apparently, there is a finite amount of mojo in one day.