Yesterday I posted six pieces for the final assignment in my on-line class with Jane Davies. The class involved participants setting their own biweekly objectives, posting their work to the class blog by a set deadline, and commenting on their experience and on the work of the others. We got great feedback from each other, and from the instructor, incisive but also supportive.
For my final assignment I wanted to return to the "minimal-hesitation" approach to painting. The idea is to set aside a specific amount of time to work continuously, with minimal hesitation, to muffle the inner critic and to work more instinctively. I found this a real stretch!
I decided on a relatively small format (9 x 12) and a neutral colour scheme, using a wide range of materials. My idea was to start each of them with minimal hesitation, but then to go back repeatedly to reassess, to add or remove a little of this or that. I don't consider any of these to be finished works, and I doubt that I will actually go back to them. For one thing, they were done on cheap paper.
But I learned a lot in the process.
For one thing, I realized that I began each piece with broad gestural strokes of paint, even though this was new to me. Why did I assume that this was the way to go? Was I being overly influenced by what the other students were doing? Is there some stereotype in a dusty corner of my brain that says "a real painting begins with a big gesture"? Maybe there are other ways to begin that are more helpful to me?
The comments I received from others reminded me to have faith in my efforts. Even work that appears to be misguided or unsatisfactory at the time contributes to one's growth, as long as we take the time to reflect on the experience.
What's next? At this point I am happy to take a break from assignments. I have a few ideas of how to spend my studio-time that might allow me to catch my breath and even have a little fun!