Things take their own time. That’s my lesson for the week. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over. You’d think I could remember it but it can be a surprise when I realize that I’m not always in charge of my own creativity. The lesson not always a surprise though. Sometimes it’s just a reminder. Oddly enough it’s when things are going poorly and I’m not very successful at being creative that it’s easy to see I’m not in charge. It’s hard not to notice then. It’s when things are going well and then they all of a sudden come to a screeching halt that I’m surprised I’m not as in charge as I thought I was. It’s a strange phenomenon.

It started last winter when I bought a half dozen new 18×24 inch canvases. That’s I size I didn’t usually work at but I had a brainstorm of an idea and bought them on a bit of a whim. Whatever my idea was for the canvases, which I don’t quite remember anymore, it didn’t work out and I abandoned it. I used one of the canvases back then to make a painting but the rest of them have been sitting there waiting for me to paint on them. This week I felt like using one of the canvases so I grabbed my book of ideas, found an image I liked, and worked it into a finished painting. It all went well. Of course the painting took a bit longer to do than I thought but it come out nice. I am happy with it. The crashing to a halt part came when I tried to ride that momentum into a new painting. Things stopped going well and I didn’t get a second painting done.

What happened? I have no idea. I was feeling good about getting a new painting started as I looked through my sketchbooks for ideas but nothing jumped out at me. Even though I could find no inspiration I did settle on one image I wanted to use but then I couldn’t even get it past the sketch phase. I started making a drawing of it but part way through I lost interest. That is always a bad sign. There is no sense in forcing anything so I let it go and started looking for a new image to work on. Once again I saw nothing that I wanted to work on.

It was weird how everything came to a stop. Before then I felt like, creatively, I was making all the right moves. It had just spent three days working on a painting and was feeling good about it. I wanted more. I thought, for sure, that I had another painting in me right away. I had all those canvases sitting right there ready to go, I had sketchbooks filled with images, and I had my well tested method of working so why couldn’t I keep going? I was feeling it. I had the desire and the know-how so what happened? Who knows? It’s another of the mysteries of life. It’s a good thing I have other creative things that I like to get done.

This is where my love of working in multiple mediums comes in. I like to do a lot of different things. Painting, drawing, printmaking, markers, gouache, or whatever else. I try to go with the flow. When I run into a wall with one medium I can get around the wall with another medium. As I was looking fruitlessly through my sketchbooks for an image to make into a painting I switched gears when I saw one that I could make into a print. When one thing things doesn’t work I move to another. That’s not a good method for everyone but it has served me well.

Before I started this particular painting I had been, once again, working on developing a comic book story. My white whale as of late. This was my second such attempt in the last few months. My first attempt had fizzled out as so many attempts before it had but this one was scaled back and working fairly well. I’ve been developing some one page comic strips as prints. That kinda scratches two itches. The comics/prints are meant to be viewed as a single image and not continue from page to page. The page is the image and the image is the thing. Yeah, yeah, I still don’t have it all worked out yet.

The painting that I finished interrupted a comic print that I was working on and the second painting I tried to work on was interrupted by yet another comic print. I don’t know what that all means except things take their own time. There is my leaned lesson again. I have yet to finish one of these new comic prints of mine but I have faith that I will. So far they’re not easy to finish. I’m making them differently than a normal comic page in that every panel is getting attention as if it’s its own print. That’s a lot of attention.

A regular comic book page wouldn’t normally get so much attention. Deadlines don’t allow it. Drawing a comic book is full of compromises because of time and the fact that you really only get one draft. There is a lot of drawing involved and it has to get done so you can’t treat it all as if it’s precious. Being that my comic/prints aren’t comic books I can put a little more preciousness into them. Of course that comes at a price too.

Often just trying to get things done has an advantage over trying to get everything right. Not always but a lot of the time just getting things done allows you to cut out a lot of unnecessary stuff and get to the heart of the matter. A little too much time and preciousness can paralyze things. That might me my second lesson of the week but it’s not one that I forget like my first lesson. Y’know right about now I’m tired of lessons. I think I’ll go read.