I spent a couple of days reworking the head of the central girl because I disliked the overly large grinning mouth. The work didn’t go well until today, which got me thinking about the practice of a daily habit of painting.
For years I’ve thought of the studio as a refuge from the world and the practice of making art as a state of dharmic concentration – the work is always going to be better by working on it day by day, continually seeking improvement and being wholly absorbed in the task. I considered the circumstances of the outside world irrelevant to the work inside the uniquely separate space of the studio, which although is neither temple sanctuary, nor factory, nor an outer expression of an inner mind, but perhaps represents an unusual combination of all three.
However, I’ve been dealing with worry over an important interview this week, particularly disturbing to my equilibrium on Wednesday and Thursday, that has made me realize that painting IS impacted by circumstance. Although I had the same time available in the studio as I do every week, I found myself unmotivated and I’ll prepared for working, and when I did get to painting my concentration was poor and the work I did was not at a good enough standard to keep and certainly not good enough to post here. Now the interview that got me stressed out is over I’ve returned to the studio feeling much more cheerful, I’m painting just fine again and I’ve reworked the mouth of the centre figure to a more pleasing conclusion. (I’ll post photos when I’ve developed the work a little more).
This leads me to the conclusion that stress and external disturbance can powerfully influence the way we work, and that artists who are interested in the pursuit of beauty should seek to make their environments as pleasant as possible.

Face Paint and Stress

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