Damage control


I started painting this morning and 40 minutes in, realized I’d made a real mess of things. Sometimes it happens. You get bogged down in the details, and you lose sight of your greater vision.

Whenever this happens, I sit down and brainstorm what I can do to save the painting. In some cases “save the painting” means scraping the whole damn thing off. Other times, it just means some corrective measures and readjusting my vision and my attitude. This painting just needs to be readjusted.

In no particular order, here’s today’s list:

Make colour studies of the water.

Make black and white studies of the water.

Stand up, stand back.

Get big. Use a bigger brush.

Think big.

Trust myself, trust the painting, trust my vision.

Leave finicky-ness at the door. Stop nitpicking.

Jump around, dance around.

Go down to the sea – stare at it. Study it. Absorb it.


Focus on freshness, bigness, vision, fragility.

Paint with power and sensitivity.

Create the world.

Don’t get bogged down with the details.

Let the painting be what it needs to be.

Be bold. Be a god, a master, a maestro. Be conductor of the symphony of the painting.

Set the mood – tranquil, peaceful, serene, delicate.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Paint my vision. Remember my vision. Live my vision.

See what happens.

You’ll notice some of the items contradict each other. I think that’s just art – there’s always some kind of paradox. But all of the things evoke something for me, and remind me of what I’m really searching for.

I also need to remind myself that sometimes the paintings I struggle most with end up being some of the best ones. So it’s okay to¬† struggle, it’s okay to lose my way temporarily. Sometimes getting lost in the forest is the best way to clarify your vision. It makes you see more clearly exactly what you don’t want and that’s half the battle.

How do you get focused when you lose your way?