The Agony and the Ecstasy

Many artists will doubtless be familiar with this experience…

You’re doin’ a painting. And it’s comin’ along well, and you’re relatively pleased with it, and it’s nearly done, a good two thirds at least, and you start another bit of it, and suddenly you do something Really Freakin’ Cool.

And you gaze at it, and it is, indeed, really freakin’ cool.

It also doesn’t match the rest of the painting. If you’d done it first, you’d be set, you could do the rest of the painting just like that, but noooo, your flash of brilliance came well after the halfway point. It sits in solitary splendor on one side of the page, looking both awesome and awesomely out of place.

I now have three options–finish the painting with a cool, but totally out of place bit, re-do the entire painting to match the cool bit, or–I cringe–paint out the very best bit. The heart quails. My mother called. I whined to her. She recounted something she heard in grad school–“Sometimes you have to get rid of the best part of the painting to save the painting.” This is one of those agonizing truths. I squirm in the chair as if afflicted by Muse pinworms. Oy. I must do another painting with the really cool bits in it. Goes without saying. And yet for this one, I just don’t know.

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