The creation of a work of art is frequently a journey full of highs and lows. At least for me it is. Those highs and lows are directly related to the many stages one of my paintings goes through to completion. Add to that the pressure of wanting to create something “really good” that gets accepted into a show.
As a member of the Copley Society of Art, I have opportunities to submit work to special juried shows. I wanted to submit work to the 2021 Winter Members show in particular, because if accepted, it would mean an upgrade to my status. This has been one of my goals since first becoming a member two years ago. With three weeks until the deadline, I began work on a painting of a red-wing blackbird. I was pleased with the sketch and it was definitely in the “Pretty Good” category. Two weeks later it had progressed to “Crash and Burn” status. To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly.
The pressure of the deadline was looming. and with less than a week to go, I was struggling with what to do. Let’s face it… I was in panic mode. So, I went back to my reference photos and came up with a new idea. By now I only have three days to create this painting and submit it. Given my detailed style of painting, the large size requirement could be challenging, but I was confident I could manage. I spent one day working on the composition and sketch. It never fails that life throws you a curve ball just when you don’t need it. Suffice it to say I lost a day in the studio and now I had one day to finish a large painting. One single day. I went into the studio at 7:30 in the morning, took a break for lunch and another hour off for dinner and kept painting. At 8:30 PM, the painting wasn’t finished but I was flagging. I was discouraged, my hand was cramped, my sight was blurry and I decided I just could not do it. I cleaned up, turned off the lights and went into the house. I dropped down on the couch wanting to cry. Instead, I sat there in the dark staring at the wall. All the while a little voice in my head kept saying: “You can do this. You’re almost there… you still have a few hours. Just go back out there…”. After a half hour I rallied and went back to the studio. You talk about a dead run for the finish line! I painted and I painted some more. I painted until 11:15PM when it was finally done. I liked it a lot and felt it was solidly in the “Pretty Good” category. It was a painting I would be proud to have in a gallery. I submitted my entry just before the midnight deadline.
A few weeks later, I was notified that my painting had been juried into the show. The acceptance of my work in this show has resulted in my status being upgraded to that of a Full Artist Member with the Copley Society of Art, a goal I had been striving towards. I did not give up, I kept trying despite the odds and I did it. That’s something for the 2021 good news jar! And, yes, I did a happy dance in the studio.