So it happened, the moment I've been waiting for, the overflow of self frustration that leads me to attack a canvas I've been working on.
It happens slowly. There's a section that's not right, it's different from the whole, so it's nagging at me. I rework it - first the colour, then texture. No, no that's not right - it's the lines, they're too thick, so I trim them - a process that involves two colours and time to dry. In the mean time I'll fix this and that, hoping to improve the whole by working on smaller sections - keeping my eye on the space of disaster. They're still wrong, but now not straight enough - do them again, carefully, slowly - Damn! wobble. Again, this time fast, confident - fake it till you make it right, don't give the paint a chance to deviate. Breath, and okay, go! Fuck, wrong angle.
And this goes on. And on.
Until finally reworking the same section my frustration rises. Why can't I do this - I know I have before, why isn't this working - how have I fucked this up, the idea should've worked, it should've been good! The line explodes over the canvas, with stroke after stroke of anger, words of venom childishly displayed on the painting, but aimed at myself. For this anger is aimed at my technical ineptitude, a feeling of failure and disappointment for what I had hoped to achieve. My inner Scream if you like.
I stand and look at it. My victory. I feel sick.
I vigorously clean my brushes - partly in punishment for their complicity in this disaster, and partly to use the adrenalin that has built up; but mainly to get me away from the monstrosity I have created - the flight of Victor Frankenstein from his monster.
I put the paintbrushes back. I look again and realise I cannot run - though I'd like to, I'd like to throw the canvas outside in the rain. With a paper towel I spread the new paint, words, the reworking and amendments over the scene, taking off as much as I can. I have now remembered what the painting should be.
I pick up my thinest brush. I work quickly - recapturing the sketch, the sense of the moment, bringing back the lines that danced, but could not be relied upon.
The image looks out at me, battle scarred, and world weary, but it breaths, and has a beauty. You can check - it's in the landscape section, the last one.