Sunday, March 1, 2009


Brooke, me and one of my paintings!
I have just returned from the UK after spending 7 days with my granddaughter, daughter and husband. I so enjoyed getting to know Brooke and felt quite a jolt when her little face lit up whenever I walked into the room. I spent as much time feeding, changing, cuddling, entertaining and playing with this sweet little girl without completely taking over! Ohhhh, it is so tough to be living half way across the world!

On my return, I realised the clock is ticking, my next show is in seven days and three paintings are waiting to be finished. I hate deadlines, I am painting like mad and will probably not finish these paintings in time. This is not how I like to paint. These paintings have been on the go for the last three months and still have a distance to go.

It got me thinking about how some situations like this can cut off the connection with creativity.

How often do we think as we view our canvas or paper, armed with a loaded brush,
“Hopefully this will be my masterpiece”?
This thought can destroy the essence of creativity and has to be left at the doorway of the studio if one wants to be experimental in any way. If you have the thought that this painting has to work, you have spent good money on this canvas and you need a good painting for the next show, you are not going to take any risks and try out something new.

It’s almost as if you need to give yourself permission to spend your very valuable painting time just playing with the paint. I think of the days spent painting those layers of paint that are now mostly obliterated with subsequent layers, a little voice niggles away at me,
“Am I wasting my time and paint here?”

The one thing I have to keep telling myself is that eventually the painting will feel complete. I have to develop patience and allow the image to emerge and forget the deadlines!


soulbrush said...

oh she is too adorable for words. it must have been so hard saying 'goodbye' again. how often can you come and see her? i feel for you. good luck with new show.

~Babs said...

Oh, look what a big girl she is already! I'm so glad you had this time with her. Not only is she beautiful, but she looks very happy to be with Gran.

Oooh, Pressure.
Maybe these last ones are just meant for the NEXT show, and not this one. I know I myself cannot 'force' them,or will them to come. They appear when they are ready.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful words Dianne, and very true, I think I would work better with deadlines but would hate the pressure. I'm working on board now as I felt that feeling of forcing myself to paint well and produce something wonderful on canvas.

What a lovely little granddaughter you have, you must ache for her being so far away. Visit again as soon as you can. Throw yourself into your art and look forward to the next time.

Cynthia said...

Yes, I can imagine you feel the pressure...especially, when your sense of time changed...the pause with lovely Brooke. I am completely taken with that lovely face of her, Dianne. How you must pine for her...she is the definition of light and joy. What eyes! (She takes after you there, right?) Now you have to get to work...what a contrast! About the paint and know that is in your description of the intuitive painting approach: "The painting may take many transformations, until the work arrives at its destination and is complete."

Everything is on track, I'm sure, just get in tune with the work again. <3

Dianne said...

Dear Soul, I know you know how I feel right now, we are both at a similar stage of our "Grannyhood". I envy you being able to share all the milestones of Maggie Rae's development.

Dianne said...

Dear Babs, yes, she got to know me well, I loved being part of her life for a whole week.

Perhaps it is good that I have a whole lot of pressure now, lots to take my mind off being so far away!

Dianne said...

Dear Carolann, I'm glad you have found a way to get rid of that "special canvas" problem. I love the landscapes you are painting at the moment.

Dianne said...

Dear Cynthia, thank you for pointing out what I said in my profile - sometimes we need to stand back, away from the deadlines and pressures.

Thanks for the lovely comments regarding Brooke, I am so biased, she is gorgeous to me!!

I have been thinking a lot about your posting of the dialoque with your muse. I love that you are a writer and I am a painter - we still have so much in common, there are so many parallels in the two creative expressions to explore.

Anonymous said...

Dear Dianne, I am pleased that you like my landscapes now, they are my 'thing' at the moment and I'm on 'a roll' as we say. Just finishing another one tomorrow. Starting the new month with hopes for lots of inspiration from the Spring sunshine coming soon we hope. Even though more snow on the way, we are told.
Best wishes for your exhibition.

Sharon Wright said...

It is so uplifting to feel your joy in Brooke, she is a lucky girl to be so cherished.
As for deadlines, forget them, nothing matters but your creativity, so go with the flow!

Anonymous said...

Dear Di,
What a beautiful, loving photo! Little Brooke is thriving and is obviously a joy! I am so glad you could spend this very precious time with her. It is good to have you back and I am looking forward to seeing your paintings at the next exhibition. So true what you say about pressure chasing creativity away. There is no doubt that I produce my most satisfying and pleasing work when I am just happily exploring - gently feeling and sometimes dancing my way through a painting. To the outside critic, maybe this is not so, but to me when I look at a painting I have done, I remember what has gone into it and what frame of mind I was in. This colours my vision of it. What a pleasure when it has all come together as if by magic. When you can't even remember actually applying the brush strokes, altough you know you were there! See you soon. Love Wyn.

kathleen.artkat.hebert said...

You say it so well, Dianne! The expensive canvas, the "waste" of time, the have to do's!!!! Creativity doesn't work like that, as you know. It doesn't wear a watch and it doesn't care about deadlines. I guess that we will always have this battle going on - but, at least we are aware of it!
BEAUTIFUL BABY!!!!! And she is so lucky to have you as the granny!!! - Kathy

Dianne said...

Dear Carolann, so glad you feel that spring is in the air! I was very lucky with the weather in the UK, it was about 10 degrees and there was no rain over that week.
Looking forward to seeing more of your work, are you back in your studio yet?

Dianne said...

Hi Sharon, yes, Brooke is a very cherished baby, she brings joy into all our lives.
After reading your comment and the others here, I just kind of relaxed. Isn't it amazing how the support here can be so therapeutic!

Dianne said...

Dear Wyn, I am looking forward to the exhibition on Monday, I love the hanging day, I can just sense the lovely positive feelings of all the artists. It is great to see old friends again and have a natter!
You express yourself so beautifully in words, your description of how you feel about those paintings done when you are happily exploring really touched me. I know that feeling so well. I think the viewer will have a sense that the painting is special, compared to those that have been dash off for a deadline.
See you on Monday!

Dianne said...

Dear Kathy, you right, we all know about this problem, but it has been so good to talk about it. It has put it all in perspective for me. I went through a period of about 3 years when I stopped exhibiting altogether - I just needed time to paint for myself and explore where I was going, without the thought of painting for a show. I now feel much stronger and usually do not think about deadlines. Going away to the UK put me in a whole different dimension and returning to my life here gave me quite a shock to the system!
Thanks for your caring comments!

sukipoet said...

your granddaughter is just too precious. How wonderful you were able to spend some time with her. The layers of paint are like the drafts when one writes a novel. Or at least the way it was back when one wrote by hand or typewriter. Many layers upon layers to come to the finished piece. And never are those drafts/layers a waste. It is through them one reaches the final draft/painting. Good luck on your show.

fiona long said...

Oh I agree Dianne, It's such a shame when a deadline can hamper the creativity! I love to experiment too. It's such an important process. I do personally thrive well under pressure though and that's when I do some of my best thinking I guess it's a whole rounded experience I need from experiment time to pressured doing time. If it gets too much though...I go into laid back panic. Not good! Thanks for another great post!

Dianne said...

Dear Suki, it is so interesting to hear about the process of writing, where the drafts are like the layers of paint. Of course! The work would be superficial and one dimensional with only one layer! The multiple layers add the depth.

Dianne said...

Dear Fiona, you are so lucky to be able to function under pressure. Perhaps this is something I should consciously learn to cope with, using the energy in a more positive way. It is a purely psychological thing and can be dealt with if I look for the positive aspects of the deadline.

Anonymous said...

Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

Your award will go live sometime on Fri, March 6, 2009

Award Code

Thank you,

Bill Austin

Dianne said...

Thanks Bill! I tried to have a look at your site, but can't quite make out this award?

Kim said...


First of all, please forgive me for not being around the last little while. I have been busy leaving my ego at the studio door :)

I absolutely love this post and believe you are dead on right. If we continue to approach our art with the end result in mind, we forget the process which is really what makes art in the first place. This business is not like many others in that we strive for the end result. You know, it is interesting as I type this I realize this is one of the things which made interiors less satisfying for me. Girl, you are a wonder!

I am so happy to hear you enjoyed your visit to the UK...I can't imagine how difficult it is to be so far from your precious family there. I know how hard it was to send my daughter back to the US when we lived in England...brutal. The great news is you had all that lovely time to enjoy your girls and their husband/father!

Thanks for such wonderful memories and for making me step back to understand myself.


Lynette said...

Awww Dianne, Brooke is a little living doll and that is such a sweet photo. I'm so glad you got to go and visit and see her and your family there!

Dianne said...

Dear Kim,
BWO! I know how it feels to be so busy that days just go by without touching the computer! I am in one of those very busy times myself!
It is so good to step back and look at ourselves once in a while!

Dianne said...

Dear Lynette,
Yes, she is a real sweetie with a lovely nature.

Viv King said...

Your article really rang true! Painting for deadlines can really hamper one's creativity. I hope its going better now.