“Don’t overwork it!”

I get it, but no thanks. At least not today.

As much as I appreciated all my art teachers when I was younger, I think I would have liked less focus on accomplishment or the end result, and more on the process of learning and building. There is so much sustainable joy in action.

Some days I just want to push. Bring the art to its limit until it breaks… watch it break down, learn from it, put it back together and smash it again. It’s like playing, which is part of learning and creativity. I want to do more than make mistakes… I want to lift them up, and turn on the flood lights. Swing ’em around and test their stability, study them close, cover them up to see what shows through, highlight it and build off that. What a mess!!  🙂  Yes.

Putting some paint on paper is a pretty safe place to make mistakes. And the best part is learning to trust myself more than anything… that quiet authentic awareness in between thoughts… and what I came face to face with was that a lot of my “mistakes” were just my own ‘thoughts with judgment’. It’s not easy to let those thoughts go, after all, they’re there for a reason… maybe to protect my ego against criticism, i.e. staying within the lines means you get a gold star. But today I’m pushing for authenticity.

With so much attention on process and subjectivity, it’s difficult to focus on the end result and present it with coherent significance. There were so many faces created and destroyed within this artwork, it feels to me like the last one can barely hold it all together. And maybe that’s honest. This abstract painting of a face isn’t the final representation of my authenticity… it’s a painting of the active struggle (push) to find my authentic voice, and the joy and frustration that goes with it.

Colorful and Expressive Abstract Face, Drawn and Painted with Pen and Watercolor

Practicing Push | Colorful Abstract Painting of a Face

12 thoughts on “Practicing Push | Colorful Abstract Painting of a Face

  • August 23, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I really love this Michael. It’s like maximum overdrive into the color explosion. All your styling just pushed to the edge. I also like the lower right corner you leave a little less concentrated. It’s kind of a peak into some ‘underlying mystery.’ Very cool.

    I know exactly what you’re saying about ‘don’t overwork it.’ I remember instructors walking up behind me and saying, “Stop! It’s done. Leave it alone!”

    I so hated to hear that. It’s done when I say it’s done. If I push it to far…. well it’s mine to push, now isn’t it?

  • August 24, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks Vikki!
    Yea, maximum overdrive for sure… I got lost in there so many times. 🙂 But I can’t wait to do it again!

    I heard “stop” so often it made me nervous. I ignored myself and started drawing for other people. So I’m trying to break some of those patterns. It’s been a fun exercise with art that’s relatable to other areas of life too.

    Thanks again for your support!

  • August 24, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    You know, your faces are mezmerizing! I love that this one feels as though there’s more information behind it

  • August 25, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    The hardest thing to know is when to stop – and when not to. Listen to me – waxing philosophical!! Not that I know enough to suggest to anyone ‘when’, or even myself, for that matter, but that is something I have come to know, even with my limited experience.

  • August 26, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Hi Dina,
    Yea, lots of layers! I usually draw or paint until the paper is too moist to continue, but I spread this one out over a few sessions. One little change in habit can have such a dramatic affect. Thanks for your response!

  • August 26, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Hi Lou,
    So true! Another one of those conundrums that it feels good to know I’m not struggling with alone. Thanks for commenting by! 🙂

  • November 11, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    ur art is sooo cool- i myself am doing art gcse and was just wondering if u did and when

  • November 11, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Hi hi,
    Thanks for the compliment. 🙂 I did not do GCSE. I only went to art school for about a year in Minnesota, USA. Good luck with your artistic pursuits!

  • April 3, 2009 at 1:00 am

    how can I get a free paid scholarship of FINE ART in your country…? Thank you.

  • April 11, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Hi faisal,
    I appreciate your interest in the arts, and recommend searching Google.com for more information about art scholarships. Good luck with your artistic pursuits! 🙂

  • June 8, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Hello, Michael,
    I like it. It’s quite intriguing, and still I find something simple about it. You didn’t go too far, you went just far enough.

    Keep at it!

  • February 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Art is something new for me, and I am only just starting. At 55, I know it’s a bit late, but I am enjoying this new knowledge.

    Your work is simply brilliant! I love it all!

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