I tell you this much for free… Videoing yourself making a painting arms you with insight about your process like nothing else!
Yep, I took the very brave step (at least for me) of filming myself creating a painting from start to finish, and then posting it online! When I watched it on playback, it was seriously like watching someone else, which allowed me to step back and be objective about what I was seeing. I saw the mis-steps along the way and have to admit to wincing once or twice. But, for the most part, I felt mesmerised by the glorious process of creating – of making something out of nothing. And, it’s that which I choose to hold onto, regardless of whether the outcome is ‘good’ or not.
That said, it was something of a revelation to witness at which point I called it quits. There was a point, about two-thirds of the way in, where I could have finished. The painting was still, in a sense, raw. But it had a real sense of brightness and vitality.
As I watched, a little voice inside said ‘Stop… stop!’ Which I didn’t… obviously. I chose to push on, add in some dark tones and little flourishes. Depending on your perspective, I either ‘resolved’ the painting, or I overworked it. I tend to think it was the latter. Had I not seen the video, however, I wouldn’t have realised it happened. It’s been a real gift and a lesson I’ll be aware of going forward.
I’m going to continue to video myself painting. Not just to share my process with like-minded others (which I think is important) but to fast-track my own creative growth. Let’s face it, when we’re creating (especially intuitively), the tendency is to get lost in the process itself. Watching myself back on video – becoming both the creator and the witness – allows me to appreciate the beauty of that process, but it also gives me the opportunity to consider where I’m holding back or holding on.
At the end of the day, as Rembrandt says so eloquently (below), a work is done when you’ve met your own intentions. It reminds me, then, to become clear on what my intentions are. For me, now, it’s about being real, imperfect, expressive and exploratory. I want my paintings to show that I am in them. While the painting above hasn’t really met that brief, I feel utterly inspired to keep trying!