What better to place to start my very First blog post but in the Middle. The “Messy Middle” that is. My dear friend Joan uses that term to describe that point in the painting process when all the Warring Factions that coexist in our noisy minds, are either trying to get you to carry on … it will be a fine painting. Or this isn’t going any place good … you should stop and drive to town and buy an ice cream sundae. Or the kind voice that meekly gives encouragement … maybe if you try blah blah or perhaps if you just change blah blah …but really that kind voice is thinking you should get double scoops on the sundae and ask for extra hot fudge sauce. As far as I know we all find ourselves in the Messy Middle. I actually think of it as The Painful Middle but the alliteration isn’t so good. Neither is my English. It’s a disheartening place to be. I feel lost, not strong, like all that I’ve learned about my art, about shape, form, color, technique, about what materials do, is no longer accessible. My belief in my confidence as an artist gets wobbly, and I feel crumby. I am facing a canvas that started with a great idea, in fact being a visual artist, I already have the completed vision in my head. The painting started to work up nicely, and all of a sudden it is not looking like my vision. My values are off, the colors aren’t exciting. I can see some great passages and there are things that really work … but something is not feeling right. And the Warring Factions start with their chatter. Geez if an artist could only get them to stop, the middle might not be so messy.
So you stick with it. You do that little thing that the meek voice suggested. And then you put another stroke on and then another passage of color. And then magic starts to come back. It’s just that your confidence faltered. You had all the structure right. Your vision was strong and true. You just had to go through the Middle. The Middle is the struggle and the struggle is the process. The reason we do art is the process. The struggle is necessary to creating authentic art. We have to have faith. Perhaps I should have entitled this blog “You Have to Have Faith”. But I think that title has been used before.