Sitting on a project for too long

When things go wrong because you think too much…

I’ve had this project idea for quite some time, long term project, mixed writing and imagery, I even created a separate website for it last year. The painting portion of the idea was quite specific, long horisontal canvasses, black lines/scribbles, few colours in a light wash. Well, among other ideas, because as usual I have at least 4 other styles I want to test. And it all stayed in my head because I wanted to be certain I didn’t just waste a lot of paper or canvas. And I didn’t quite know how to proceed with the drawing part. Faithful to my source, or remembered, then random scribbles? Colour before or after? Just how abstractified vs. recognisable landscape?

Well, obviously you need to SEE to know, so I finally decided this was the time to test and get into it. (To avoid finishing another old series as it were) Multiple fails, so many aha moments!

  1. Inktense blocks apparently aren’t bleed proof after drying as I thought – at least not on canvas. So wiping off portions of your second layer pretty much ruins the first.
  2. Otoh there’s a lot more pigment in a tiny scribble + water than you’d imagine!
  3. Don’t shake your bottle of Golden High Flow if you want to dip a pen into it – it makes a lot of foam which doesn’t flow off your stick in any kind of line, smooth or otherwise.
  4. Getting stuck on a method just in my head then execute simply doesn’t work for me. Things have to happen ON the canvas organically and instinctively as I go or I’ll hate it. New stuff needs to be introduced with the old, not as a brand new style unless you’re just test sketching. Which I tend not to do.
  5. Always bring phone or camera into studio to record all the failed stages as reference.
  6. And yes, a long horizon does need to be planned just a bit to come out balanced and interesting.
  7. Also, I’M SO GRATEFUL the inktense fail happened right away and not as I proceeded to varnish a masterpiece!
– 2nd stage after attempting to fix the inktense with gesso before I move on to covering up. NOPE, this was not how I envisioned it, not even close. Definitely a beta version.

Some other things to ponder:

  1. When leaving a large portion of canvas white and untouched, how do you protect it from smudges without encasing it in multiple layers of plastic medium? Not a problem after my fail, but part of the original plan.
  2. Why do I have such an aversion to working on papers until I’ve developed a technique? It never amounts to anything when I do for some reason, just wasted materials, no learning.
  3. So what is the real reason I manage to procrastinate on a project for two years? (apart from actually having too many project ideas in the first place) It’s not because I don’t know where to begin, I’m pretty good at planning out action steps and micro goals when I want to. Good old performance anxiety then, the urge to do something perfectly well the first time and repeat the succes ad infinitum. Which happens pretty much never unless by accident chance.
  4. I could totally just do this project, or at least begin it, in the same painting techniques that I’m already playing with currently, rather than get hung up on a 2 yo idea, right?
  5. It’s also quite possible that I’m incapable of diving deep into one single subject because of my physical issues and getting bored with just going back to the same after each break.
  6. Waiting (this long) definitely doesn’t make a project any easier to begin or complete.
– a random source file

Stay tuned for an update on the project, sometime before I die anyway.

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