Running uphill; rolling down

If you’re following me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m midway through the final  painting in the season-inspired series that I’m currently working on. I’ve posted regular updates on the progress of this painting: from composition sketch, to underpainting, and now building up layers of colour and texture. The last stage of the painting will be to step away from the reference material and touch up the final details, which, in my mind, establish the painting as a work in its own right (rather then simply a replication of something else).

Typically, this process feels a bit like running up and over the crest of a hill. It begins with a burst of energy and excitement at the apparently rapid progress that’s unfolding on the canvas. Then, all too quickly, the painting starts to look like an impossible spot-the-difference from one layer to the next, and the crest of the hill seems like it’s taking forever to reach.

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I mentioned previously that I would often struggle to finish paintings as a student. Looking back, I now recognise that this point in the process is when I would stop – right before the crest of the hill. (To be fair, if I was literally trying to run up a hill, I don’t think I’d get anywhere near the top!) I do think it’s typical of artists to fall in and out of love with their work, but if we can stick with it long enough to get over the crest of that hill… well, then the hard part is over and we can roll down the other side giggling!

My advice to those who also often find themselves struggling to get to that tipping point is to take regular photographs of your work as it progresses, and use these as a cheat sheet for spotting the difference – and there is always a difference every time your paintbrush meets the canvas. This will help keep your motivation high and remind you that every part of the process is necessary, even the disheartening bits.

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Wish me luck getting to the top of my own hill with the painting above, and share your tips for overcoming art struggles in the comments below! As always, you can find completed work available to purchase in my Etsy shop, and play spot-the-difference with ongoing work through my Instagram posts.

That’s all for today, guys. Thanks so much for your continued support. Until next time, stay awesome and keep making art!

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