Deadlines are a hairy thing for me. Actually, time in general is a hairy thing for me. I may have things written down, included on all my cloud calendars with multiple reminders set, but sit me down in front of a painting, and time is toast.
Last week, I let you in on the start of a new painting, “Dreamer”. I began the painting in hopes of meeting the deadline for “Dreams”, this year’s themed members’ exhibit at the Fountain City Art Center. This photo shows how far I’d gotten by last night. I still think I can manage it, but I’m not positive anymore because, for me, the painting is more important than the deadline, especially once it starts to speak.
Yes, speak. At some point in the painting, usually well before it’s half done, your painting discovers it has needs, and it starts to tell you about them. Or it tries. Sometimes paintings use their inside voices. Sometimes they shout. No matter which voice they’re using, though, you can’t hear them if you don’t stop to listen. You get so caught up in forcing this technique or that idea that you miss the glorious opportunities water, paint and paper together offer up.
You label it a Mistake, grab your paper towel, and blot like a fiend! So let me tell you something Stephen Quiller taught me:
A Mistake Is Just An Opportunity.
Yup. Say it again. A Mistake Is Just An Opportunity. So when my heart took over control of the brush and painted something I hadn’t planned, I stopped. I looked. And I looked some more. This took some time. Then I asked my heart, “Is this right?” It answered, “Yes.”
So I reworked my plan, which also took time. This deadline might be missed. But it’s worth it, you know? Because my heart is where my best work comes from, and my heart told me it’s right.