August 10, 2010

Painting and confidence

Yesterday, I wasn't very happy with my painting. I spent several hours painting without conviction, hesitantly, you could even say fearfully or at least anxiously. It happens sometimes.

I think the why of it is that having advanced a painting so that it begins to please or satisfy me, I start being afraid of messing it up. I paint, but I am unconsciously holding back. Actually it's not that unconscious, which helps to maintain the general level of tension, but I am unable, at the time at least, to do anything about it.

I am not alone in encountering these bouts, from what I read and hear, it happens sometimes to artists - people creating. It is sometimes a part of the process. 

Inevitably, I paint less well when I feel this way. Not that it is necessarily *bad* painting, but it is more of grind, maybe less "true".

Today all was well again, and I painted with quiet attention and confidence, feeling nourished as I painted.

Here is a detail of the painting from this evening (I worked a lot around the eye and nose):

click in image to see larger

The full painting, still in process but feeling good:

click in image to see larger
Paintings by Peter Hobden


Anonymous said...

your paintings are beautiful. I have found confidence. My youtube channel is available at I usually dont leave my youtube channel..but it explains everything and I relate to your story. Alicia

Pete said...

Thanks Alicia. I happy with how things are going. It is only occasional now. I am getting used to managing my attitude

Rebecca Phillips said...

Peter I can so totally relate to this post. For me the self doubt creeps in always when I'm more pleased than usual about a piece I'm working on. A few years ago I was so pleased with a floral still life that I began to doubt I could complete it and do it justice. I had to work through it and I have found that these ae the pieces that I learn the most on. They may not be my best work but I value them for what they teach me.
The piece you are working on now really sings, I think - love it :)

Pete said...

Thanks for the thoughts, Rebecca. Usually I push for a while and then break for a bit (or a night) if my flow doesn't come through. Sometimes if I push too much it gets into a viscous circle.
When I come back after a break and it's working, I usually realize that I was insisting on what I thought I should do instead of "listening" and maybe going in a different direction.

And glad you like the painting ;D