Thursday, March 29, 2012


The last few years, which just happen to be the years since my mother died, have been such a lesson in letting go. I've learned that a joyful, content, fulfilling life are as much about what we can let go of, as they are what we gain... maybe even more so.

As I've focussed more and more on painting, I think I have somehow embraced that the best exercize for an artist when something's "just not working" is to push through. I've heard so many other artists whom I respect greatly share that insight... "keep at it"... "set it aside and come back to it"... etc. It's as if the success is in making it work... forcing it, but never giving up on it. I can see that. I certainly don't think brash decisions are ever a good thing, and setting it aside for a bit may be just what clears the dust enough to be inspired again.

But sometimes..... Oh, sometimes you just know. This canvas has been hanging around my studio for a llloooonnnggg time. I think I knew from the minute I layed down the modeling paste that I had gone too far. It stood on an easel for months. Then it got moved upstairs to the bedroom throughout the holidays. Then, I decided it was time. I was going to add the paint and it was going to magically "speak to me" and become what I envisioned. Nope. Looked like a cartoon.

This was one of the first pieces I started as I was falling deeply in love with abstracts. And I really was drawn to abstracts that hinted at a setting... cityscapes, seascapes, meadows.... LOVE them! And as New England is always at the core of my creative inspiration, I envisioned the humble salt ponds in Galilee, RI. I could feel it in my bones.... the blues, the grays... the marshy weeds, the salt and sand. But... the canvas wasn't feeling it.

I went too far in the deep carving of the modeling paste, and didn't leave much room for inspired flow. I had created an invisible scene to be "filled in" with paint. I am not a realist painter, so trying to capture the actual landscape is not my thing. I hated it.

And there it sat. For another two months...

I would peek at it while working on other pieces, and think... "maybe". But every time I picked it up, I put it back down. I knew that no matter what I did to it, I had already crossed the threshold from abstract into an actual scene. (a scene my 6 year old could have done a better job with... LOL)

Then... as I was prepping canvases the other day, it hit me. "Action". That's my 2012 word, right? And it has certainly served me well thus far. I looked at the modeling paste on my palette knife... I looked at the salt pond painting... and I knew just what to do. Cover it up!

Oh, I suppose for some accomplished artists, this may seem like a "duh" post. I know even the masters often painted over old their paintings with newer inspirations. But for those of us just blossoming into the life of their artwork, it's hard to work at something for so long, only to "throw it away". You feel like you've wasted time, supplies, and inspiration. But that's silly, isn't it? And thanks to my mixed media background, I realize that it's just another layer...

The grooves in the modeling paste were pretty deep, which was why I felt so stuck to begin with. So, I filled them in, and then "went to town" with the new layer of paste. I like it better already, LOL.

As in all things, it takes a little courage sometimes to destroy something that's not working in order to get something new... and beautiful... and inspired.

Not sure yet, where this will end up. I'm still hoping to keep an essence of the salt ponds in there. But I'm going to let my heart do the painting, and try to keep my mind out of it.

I think it's dry now. Here we go!

Oh... as I was writing this, the same thing occured to me that's probably occured to you. "So, what's the difference between pushing through, and covering it up and starting over?" Not much! So, I guess I'm back to the "Action" theme. Doing something is always more inspiring than stagnation.

And isn't the irony in "letting go" that while it sounds like a death, or an end... it's really embracing life and growing? Sometimes we let go of ideas. Sometimes we let go of relationships. Sometimes we let go of doubt. But every time we let go, we grow.

Blessings... Linda


  1. i love your many times I have started something and just gone astray with it- loosing that first inspiration. I too have learned you just have to go with the flow and begin again.
    Good for you for jumping back in!
    (found your blog on Etsy Artists Art Blogs)

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog, Casey!
    Nice to "meet" you :)

  3. Hey there! I LOVE your blog! I'll have to come back and read this particular post again soon. Letting go is hard to do if you don't know how. There are many things in my life that for some reason I can not get over, let go and move on. It is so deep. So even though I am struggling financially, the love I have for what I do somehow makes me feel better, while I am working on whatever it is I am working on. I guess it's a temporary let go?
    Anyway, I love your blog, thank you so much for telling me about it. I am following you now and will be for a long time. I can already tell!! smiles!!!
    Shabby Jen

  4. Thanks for visiting, Jen<3
    You KNOW I love your posts and always find your insights and your work inspiring!!!

    I think letting go can be a gradual process, especially in some deeper areas. I find myself struggling with emotions... regrets... sometimes I even still feel that I'm holding onto my mom's pains. It's like I have to "wake up" and remember to let go again. Some of our pains are important milestones in who we are meant to be. We let go, but we don't forget...



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