Ah, Dory. Totally clueless for the most part, but totally and perpetually the optimistic swimmer. She barely had an idea where she was going, but she just kept “swimming, swimming, swimming.”
Sometimes that all I can do when it comes to painting. When I barely know what I’m doing, I just keep painting, painting, painting.
Every painting I start, doesn’t matter what it is, I have this gut feeling that I won’t be able to finish it. It’s like every project I set out to paint seems more than I should be able to do. I mean, I haven’t been painting all that long (less than 2 years), and already the expectations people have of me are far greater than I consider myself able.
But what do I do? I just keep painting. For eventually, with enough trial and error, I end up with a piece of art.
The painting I’m showing you today is one that I did yesterday for my brother-in-law, Carlos. My sister asked me if I could do a portrait of his late dog Cosmo (originally a Romanian stray, I think). At first I was excited to do so, but then I remembered how that I’ve done very little painting of animals, and they weren’t that good.
However, upon accepting the request, I decided to give it my best, take my time, and see what I could do. And to be honest, the moment I sat down in front of a photo of Cosmo, I was intimidated. Unlike static structures, living things have a lot more shades of color. On top of that, when you change something very minor, a familiar face can become a stranger. Therefore, I was nervous.
But then, once I got started, all I had to do was take one step at a time. The first thing was to do a preliminary pencil sketch, which included determining where colors would be divided. After that, I started with light washes of neutral colors on which I would add darker and darker shades. Then, when all that was done, I would start “fine tuning” the details like blending and edging. All it really took was time and patience.
Herein lies a lesson for life. When there are times we feel incapable of the task that has been set before us, most of the time, if we will just keep swimming, not only will we finish, but we will often learn something new along the way, something we can use next time to make the harder challenge attainable.
So, if you feel like you can’t do whatever it is you need to do, don’t give up. If God has called you for something specific, He’s already placed inside of you the talent. Trust Him, and just keep painting. It will turn out beautiful in time.