I'm buzzing a little this morning. I got up and finished the painting - ploughing straight through and not feeling the need to go back to bed. I worked the tricky details without too much swearing and self abuse (or for those of you with a certain frame of mind, recrimination), I found an answer to the texture problem I was chewing over yesterday, and I got a gut feeling it was right.
I'm pleased it's finished - partly because it should be - I was working from a watercolour sketch so it was all planned out; but mainly because I didn't feel I wanted to stop. I mean I wanted to finish it, that was what I was working toward, but I didn't want to stop adding and tweaking, blending and smoothing. I enjoyed the moments of precision with my breath regulated for a steady hand, I enjoyed the freedom of splurging colour and mussing it into another, I enjoyed letting my brush take over to solve a problem I couldn't quite see it in my head. In short it didn't occur to me to stop, or to do anything else, or to have a rest and come back; I loved the process and wanted to see it through.
This burst of enthusiasm is a relief; it reminds me of how much I love doing this, how much painting takes my emotion and energy and thought and parcels it up in a package that I love to slowly unwrap. Painting like this is a release, it opens up a little of who I am and who I want to be. It let's me see myself in action - and critique that person when I need (as well as giving the odd pat on the back).
In this way painting differs from illustration - it is a personal expression, whilst illustration is my interpretation of a story or tale - whether mine or someone else's; it requires me to consider the meaning, adaption and complementing of the text. This brings another sort of delight - the exercise of imagination and the freedom to explore, but it also contains the pressure for accuracy and execution. Doubt is a constant companion, and accuracy a necessity - illustration is not worked out on the page in the same way.
I suppose the other reason I'm feeling good is that the painting seems to work, and at one (several) point(s) that didn't seem likely. So, as with all disasters, it's nice to avert the worse in favour of the best.