So a new painting on the site - plus some I had to keep quiet over Xmas, and this one brought me to battle with my old enemy - the dab of confidence!
This nefarious being appears only when a painting nears it's apex and the ending can be completely discerned. For it is now that small imperfections send out signals like lighthouse beams across the blackest sea, catching and dragging me - paintbrush in hand to just. make. one. little. dab.
This is disaster - and I know it. I know I should just walk away - come back tomorrow when the brushes will be cleaner, when my concentration will be surer and my mind less addled. But I don't. Instead I catch up a little dab on the brush, breath and then stab.
Inevitably this leads to a pause, a whimper, then a cry of anguish as I realise this small dab has muddied the colour, gone out of the line, created a peak or worse slipped and created a new line along the canvas.
Why has this happened now, when throughout the rest of the painting such actions have flowed freely, steadily and without over-thought? The answer is of course the possiblity of completing my idea; the moment of certainty now becomes the most dangerous moment, the one where you know what disaster will look like - anything not what it now should be!
And though I know all this I am caught in the same trap each time - Charlie Brown to the painting's Lucy (apologies to Peanuts and The West Wing), believing that one simple little touch will remove the offending element, only to find that little touch requires me to redo whole sections of the painting. I stand looking at what I have done and murmur "good grief".
These wobbles are the ripples of insecurity, the tide of self doubt and the gentle lapping that ebbs away self belief. For it is at this stage that the mechanics of painting, that have taken over since the original sketch, become subsumed by the existential angst of aesthetic merit, and everything that I do is full of doublethink and hesitation.
The dab of confidence thus needs to be hunted down through persistence and zen. Breathe again, clear the mind of nay-saying voices, steady the stance, relax the shoulders and stand further back (by now I realise my face is millimeters from the canvas), look... and release.
Right, now for the signature... bugger.