I am a perfectionist.
My handsome husband is probably out there laughing ruefully after a derisive snort. Major understatement, lady! I know I have this issue, which is probably why I have never actively pursued selling any of my artwork. In my eyes, nothing I paint is ever good enough.
Yesterday I got a call from my oh so lovely sister in law, asking me if I would paint some cute baby animals for her kids rooms. Not a bad request. I am always good for a challenge, but then she wanted to know if it were possible to get the paintings done by Christmas. Uh... I think she knows me too well. Let's do a quick run through of what goes down in my studio, shall we?
First off I need an idea. Not hard. I formulate what I want in my head while looking at a blank sheet of watercolor paper. I eat lunch over it too, go out to pet the dog, make dinner and help the boys do homework (all while staring at a sheet of paper. It's odd, I know). I might sketch a few things out in a notebook and then begin marking my paper where I need to cut.
This paper cutting ordeal, I cannot explain. It is an artistic phenomenon that I am eternally grateful for. Sometimes the size of my canvas makes all the difference in the world to the painting. Getting the right size take intuition, a lot of luck and a keen eye. 99% of the time I get the cut right the first time and it is perfect. I kid you not, it makes the tips of my fingers tingle.
Next, I sketch out the subject.
Then I erase it.
I re-sketch it. Still doesn't look right. Erase.
Think. Think. Think.
Repeat sketch/erase another three or four times. When the image starts to formulate on the page, I get a buzz. It might be like a heroin addict getting shot up. However, seeing as I have never dabbled in illegal drugs (or plan to) I can't be too sure how to describe it, but it is awesome. I draw out the image completely. And erase it.
You heard me. I erase it. I take it down to a faint line and redraw it again in a bold line. And then I erase it again. Seriously, I need mental help, but my reasoning is that in watercolor, the most unsightly thing on the paper is a pencil mark that didn't get covered by paint. Now, if I squint I can see a faint image to paint. Oh golly! That explains my bad back and incessant crick in my neck!
Well, I have three paintings to get moving on and Christmas is just around the corner! In the mean time, this came off my easel last week. Frankly, I am amazed anything comes off of that thing...