This little 3″ x 6″ subway tile and I had it out last night. A real slugfest that lasted a couple of hours. It began before I left for work yesterday morning and continued when I returned home last night. We won’t talk about how much ink and angst has gone into this. But, here it is, the Dreamscape I fought tooth and nail for. If I could wear it as a medal, I would.
Who would have ever thought a 3″ x 6″ rectangle could have such resistance? It took ten attempts before this little Dreamscape emerged.
I’m no stranger to 2-3 false starts that are easily and smoothly wiped back to a white, pristine shine. A new color combo that didn’t turn out or an unnoticed piece of trash right in the middle of a clear blue sky are just part of doing business. Not much time, ink or energy have been put into the painting. A little alcohol and Viva restores the tile and me to a clean, smooth state without a second thought.
But last night, this bane, this thorn in my flesh was determined to get me. There were times my confidence waned and and my spirits drooped. Then, something ….I would like to say determination and resolve, but I think it was more like irritation and pride, rallied and said, “No, you are not going to get the best of me. I will stand here and wipe off and re-ink all night if I have to until I get something I like. I am not going to bed, defeated.” And I fought and failed some more.
Then something very subtle happened which is mainly why I wanted to share this because I think it is so powerful…after the 6th attempt was rigorously scrubbed away, I wondered, “What is up? Do I need to stop?” After the 7th failed attempt, I put the caps back on the bottles, wiped the coffee stirrer clean and scoured the little 3″ x 6″ tile turned arch-enemy.
I was going to call it a night. But, noticed how unsettled and unfinished I felt. I thought, “What if I tried just one more time? How many Dreamscapes disasters am I willing to create, before I get to one I like?” The answer surprised and calmed me at the same time. “As many as I need to.”
The 8th time I painted with more acceptance to what was happening. I was less frustrated and braced and more kind and compassionate. Still not there, but closer. I gently wiped off #9 attempt as if tending a wound. With attempt #10, the tile yielded, the ink flowed and Dreamscape No. 373 emerged. As simple as that.
While the “grit” was needed to try and try again, it wasn’t the ticket. The shift happened, I literally felt something inside unclench, when I accepted that painting a bad painting was okay. Or, bad paintings, as the case may be.
Have I been here before? Probably. But it appears I needed a reminder.
Let’s Keep On Dreaming