the difference a day makes

on extraordinary days, the painting is easy.

i crank the music and finger paint and it feels like floating. effortless. on extraordinary days, i forget to eat, ignore the iThings that are usually within arms reach and the next time i glance at the clock a whole school day has passed and i’m running late to pick the girls up.

two days ago, there was such a day. i finished two paintings. i wanted to pull them to my chest and twirl around the room with them because finally i was an artist and everything i painted from now on would be easy and beautiful and would swallow whole days.

but then yesterday, i forgot to breathe. i laboured for hours on a seemingly simple piece whose background i’d completed days before. all i had to do was paint the character and its story.

i put down a layer. then another to cover the first. a third to cover the second. all the while, inhaling and not exhaling. no music played and i didn’t forget to eat. and i cried out, “why is this not working?” 

every distraction was a welcome one. i replied to every text, drank so much tea i couldn’t bear the thought of another cup, and despaired. i was sure that if i stumbled across the perfect quote (i googled for hours) it would all come together.

i limped up to and over the finish line eventually, before i remembered this wasn’t a race. and i’m so underwhelmed by what i produced, i could tuck the piece away and never look at it again.

but the lesson is there among the layers.

creating something from nothing isn’t just for extraordinary days of music and blissful floating between pieces (how romantic that sounds!) dabbing paint here and there. it’s also for the days of struggle, of forgetting to breathe and feeling like a talentless hack who simply got lucky the day before.

it’s for the days of rest, of leaving a painting unfinished and to sketch for the joy of it instead.

or not sketching, but sitting, refilling and believing in the extraordinary days to come.

day one day two

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2 thoughts on “the difference a day makes

  1. Every single piece makes your portfolio, the good and the bad; the pieces you adore and the ones you abhor; what matters, is regardless of the outcome, each one contains pieces of you that you so willingly gave to make it the best you possibly could.

    You’re an artist. Good days, bad days, great pieces, not so great pieces, you’re still an artist, in fact some may say that you’re an artist because of that.

    x

    1. You’re right, of course, just as the act of writing, regardless of outcome, makes you a writer 😉 Writers don’t talk about writing, they show up to the page. Art is no different. I make it daily, and yes, sometimes it’s a pile of horse crap and ends up in the bin, but I’ll still feel as though I’ve achieved something because the blank page didn’t paralyse me.

      So pour the scotch, pull out that Olivetti, and make marks on the page with me 😉 xx

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