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The Life of a Painting: The Doldrums

I don’t know if this happens to other artists, but I (almost) always experience an unpleasant let down in the middle of a painting. Particularly on a piece as big as this one that can take weeks to finish. I’ve come to refer to this awful time as the mid painting doldrums; days of work go by and there seems to be little if any progress (which is why I haven’t posted lately). It’s at this time I also begin to question whether this is such a great idea for a painting after all. Experience has taught me this is just a product of working on the same thing for a long time: it’s easy to lose your perspective and second guess yourself. Experience has also taught me to hang in there and remain true to your vision, things WILL get better. Just around the corner the painting starts to come together and starts looking really sharp, just the way I pictured it in my head. I can hardly wait……

Posted by Clayton Anderson on June 5, 2014
7 Comments Post a comment
  1. 06/7/2014

    I do plein air paintings…usually working and hour or two on an 8×10 or 9×12 panel …and I often get the doldrums, too. An urge to just wipe the panel clean partway through. I’ve (almost) always fought through this, and I am (almost) always rewarded with a sound painting – often even one that has allowed me a small leap of growth as an artist. Not a fun feeling, though…those doldrums.

    • 06/15/2014

      When I’m in the middle of them, sometimes I think I would rather go to the dentist than face that bloody painting!

      • 06/25/2014

        Ugh, not the dentist! 🙂

      • 06/25/2014

        Haha! I know what you mean but my dentist good – and he likes art – even better!

  2. 06/6/2014

    That’s exactly how I feel the last 20 hours on a fibre piece….it’s painful.

  3. 06/5/2014

    I seem to you remember getting the mid-design doldrums… Friday beer night usually took care of that!


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