Why not? It's only paint...

Have I just ruined this painting???

Susannah Carson Work in Progress Portrait

Maybe. Probably. Hopefully not....

As I write this, I've taken a pause to let things dry and then survey the damage/opportunities, and I'm not entirely sure. I might have completely, utterly, irrevocably ruined what could have been a nice, tepid painting. Or I could have added something I'm really pleased with. Or I could have partially ruined it, but I'll eventually pull it out of the mud over the course of the next several hours of painstaking, precise brushwork.

But I try not to look at it like that. In any case, what I've done is I've added in an element that is Not-Me, and so now, whatever the painting is, it's just beyond my control. And that's when the lady in the painting really begins to come out and take on her own personality. For it to end up as anything I like as a painting, I need to go through this moment of relinquishment. 

It's hard. As I've written about before in a piece on Sprezzatura, I like control. If we buy more than one frozen pizza, I make sure they're all turned the same way with the labels facing up before I put them in the freezer in a nice little stack at the bottom of the other frozen goods. (My husband has no problem with stuffing them diagonally at the top or in whichever way they'll fit, which drives me mad, but which is probably a much, much healthier acceptance of life.)

When I paint, especially at night, I like to watch little videos on YouTube on a variety of topics, usually not too serious, and I'll admit that I love watching the make-up tutorials of Wayne Goss. Will I ever be able to blend my eyeshadow perfectly? Never. What I like about the videos is Wayne himself, who is so kind and pleasant (and helpful), and who frequently picks up a bold color for an eyeliner and shrugs and says, "Why not? It's only make-up." 

Wayne Goss Makeup Artist

So it's something I try to remember as I splash down an outrageous color or douse half a painting in Gamsol or do something else quite out of line for my timid self: "Why not? It's only paint." 

And, in any case, I'll have learned something. 

So, have I ruined this painting? Stay tuned! We'll see......!

Susannah Carson Portrait