“One of the most important things I’ve learned (about art) is progress is not linear.” – Alison Beere, cartoonist artist.

 A Satisfied Smile - Acrylic on Watercolour paper

("A Satisfied Smile" - acrylic on 9X12 smooth Canson Bristol paper). A special thanks to my friend (and subscriber) Linda H. for suggesting the title.

Why is art a battle on one day and not the next?

Some paintings are difficult to get right from the beginning while other works seem to appear out of nowhere. Yes, sometimes, not often, it is THAT easy.

This constant struggle is a mystery to me, and at times, a source of frustration.

Thankfully, acrylics can be worked over quite easily and contrary to watercolours, a good application of gesso over the entire painting and I am back to a white canvas and ready to start over.

I had the background for “Satisfied Smile” previously painted with leftover paint from a brayer I was trying to clean after experimenting with my gelli plate.  Artists never waste anything, not even a little bit of paint left on a brush or roller.  It has become a habit to have a slip of paper ready to swipe or dab with any leftover paint from the art I am working on at any given time.

So the background was plain but it wasn’t white so I had one problem solved: the background was done.

Was this painting easier for me because I didn’t have to grapple with colour and pattern? Was I more relaxed on that day?

I don't know for sure. As I said earlier, it's a mystery.

Contrary to other paintings, there never was a moment where all the doubts set in.

Was it the Christmas music blaring from the radio that made the portrait come to life much quicker than usual? Was it the creamy paper that might be easier to work on than a canvas?

All are plausible explanations.

But isn't the very nature of art one of exploration, of uncertainty? To practise art is to commit to a continuous experiment.

The fact that progress in art can never be linear might just be its most alluring, enticing quality.

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