Creativity, Serendipity & Gremlins - Now You See It, Now You Don't

Many of my paintings go through lots of changes during the painting process - sometimes by design and other times not. I try to document the changes by taking photos along the way, but many times I forget, especially when I get lost in the piece. Below are pics of some of the stages of the finished piece "Rolling Through Time". Unfortunately there were many more versions that I did not record.

 Process pics of some of the under layers of "Rolling Through Time".

Process pics of some of the under layers of "Rolling Through Time".

 "Rolling Through Time", Acrylic on Canvas, 28.5 x 23.5 in.

"Rolling Through Time", Acrylic on Canvas, 28.5 x 23.5 in.

Because I like the depth that comes from lots of colors and texture, I frequently add and subtract colors and manipulate textures with gesso - that's the "creativity by design" part. Other times, I get lost in the music, the paints, and the feeling of the piece and everything seems to flow together effortlessly - I call that "serendipity" and say thank you. 

Then there are the "gremlins". They show up when something just doesn't' feel right and they start to chatter saying things like, "What were you thinking? What made you think you could paint? Nobody will like this." And on and on it goes. That's when I find myself painting over whatever I was doing, even when I thought the piece was near completion. 

The good news is that day by day I make peace with my gremlins. I have learned to trust my instincts to know when something feels right and when something is off. I am not afraid to destroy, backtrack, or if necessary, start over. I think it is important not to think that what I am doing is too precious. Occasionally I will miss something that I have painted over, but in the end I am always much happier with the final result.

--Debbie