Rabbit Progress and Self Doubts

As I lay in bed last night listening to one of my Alan Jackson albums, my listening pleasure was severely interrupted by negative thoughts about my rabbit painting. I felt that so much of the tedious work I’d been doing with the tiny strokes of hair would just be wasted – covered in the end by numerous glazes. And it was frustrating to not be able to see ahead well enough to know which of it would be important to do and which wouldn’t be. I had also been too hasty in glazing over Blackie and Spot – I thought with the wrong colors.

It seemed that my approach was probably all wrong and that I should switch to another method – perhaps one I read about recently in an art magazine.

But then when I looked at the painting this morning, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I was eager to be done with my chores and errands so I could work on it some more. Here’s the result. Of course it’s still in the early stages, but I am encouraged.

My experiences today emphasized for me once more the importance of drawing. Any time I got discouraged I would look at the rabbits and I liked them and wanted to continue working on them because I thought the drawing was good and, in itself, brought them alive. I can’t imagine painting without drawing, and, in fact, drawing is probably my favorite medium although I do like working with my brushes!

A few weeks ago my sister and I went to a pastel show. There was going to be a famous pastelist there to critique the pieces. She commented mostly about composition, but also some about color. I’ll never forget that she said she didn’t care at all what the subject was! I think I know what she meant – that a good painting must have good composition, value contrast, color balance, etc., regardless of the subject. And I certainly agree with that, but for me the subject is everything. I couldn’t paint unless I really cared about the subject. Without that, why bother?

For me, painting is an expression of love – love of the subject.


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