20For20 Day 17: Self-Trust

Trust is a loaded word. To place trust in myself, in my abilities, in my decisions as a painter seems foolish and risky. What do I know after all about what makes a great painting. But I can't think of who else I would rather trust more to make the kind of paintings I want to make. I look at other painters and their paintings, and I am awed and impressed and intimidated. None of them exactly fit what I want to paint. No one is making the exact paintings that I want to see. I must trust myself and I must trust that I will find my way to the paintings I love one day.


Self-trust requires that I listen to my gut brain and not my rational brain. I never listened very much to this gut brain before I started to paint. My gut brain came in handy when I would get lost in the days before maps on my phone. Or when I would be walking by myself and I could feel I was being watched. Painting teaches me to listen and to follow the urges that come from my gut. I can't always explain why I want to do something, I just know that I must do it.


For today's painting practice, I listened to my gut telling me to paint with my palette knife instead of a brush. It was awkward and messy. I loved it. I loved the thick paint. I love the mark-making. I love how easy it was to mix and to clean the knife between each color. This is good.


I need a smaller palette knife. I need to choose different colors. Wolf Kahn? Amorsolo? I want to feel good when I paint again.

As part of #20For20ArtChallenge2022, I am reading from The Power of Daily Practice: How Creative and Performing Artists (and Everyone Else) Can Finally Meet Their Goals by Eric Maisel, PhD. Part I of the book covers 20 Elements of Practice. In this blog post series 20For20, I write about one Element every day and reflect on how to incorporate the Element into my daily painting practice.