Quiet Sunset, 2013, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
When looking at a blank canvas, the possibilities are endless. Freshly into the start of a painting, my energy level is high and I have a wonderful sense of freedom, and confidence. I spend a couple of hours or more in this nirvana, enjoying the flow of the paint, the clean palette choices, making decisions about composition. This stage is the joy of painting, often called "the zone."
After a while I step back and take a look. I usually walk away from the easel at this point, do something else for a minute, and then go back to assess my efforts after my eye has been refreshed. When everything looks good, I continue, but more often than not I have to face the agony of reality. The composition needs to be adjusted. What I've painted might have strayed from what the client and I talked about. The color strategy could need strengthening. Or worse, "What was I thinking?"
Then the real work of painting begins. The next few days or hours or weeks are spent getting a painting to a point where the painting can stand on its own, has a life of its own, and doesn't need me anymore. It lives and breathes separately, without any help from me. Then, and only then is it done, ready to go out into the world, into someone else' home or space, and hopefully, to bring them joy.