For the most part, I had a good time painting on Monday. It was a bleak chilly day but I was happy to be there, listening to an engrossing audiobook (Columbine, the new David Cullen account of the tragedy--highly recommended, by the way) while crowds of people wandered over to the ballpark behind me. Towards the end of the game, the fans filtered out of the stadium a little drunker and chattier, saying "Hey, nice painting" in a way that implied they didn't think it was a nice painting at all, but then I was interviewed by NBC which was a bit of a pick me up. When I was in art school, painting always followed a predictable pattern. First there was that euphoria--I'm painting! And it looks good so far!--which slowly melts into frustration---uaugh, this looks horrible, now what the hell do I do?--which lurches back into desperation and/or acceptance--okay, I can save this, I can make it work, etc. This pattern held true on Monday. First the work seemed good, then bad, then acceptable; then it started to rain, and I didn't care anymore because I was hungry and wanted to go home.
During one of the low points I called my dad, who knows what it's like to be disappointed in your own work (excessive self-criticism was evidently passed onto his eldest daughter).
Okay, you don't know it's not good, he said. Let me tell you something. I once did a mural that seemed seemed terrible. I mean, I was so ashamed I wouldn't let your mother see it. And now, more than anything, I wish I had a picture of it. It's your history. And it's probably not as bad as you think.