One of the most important tasks of working on a painting is knowing when to quit. Usually, this means pulling up stakes when you’ve started to make things worse instead of better. After nearly a month spent on “American Devon With Snake” I am pulled between relief and grief.
“American Devon With Snake” by Lynda McClanahan
So much work went into this, but experience has taught that hard work doesn’t always mean success. There are things I like about this painting and things I’m not quite sure of. The visual tension between the folksy sweetness of the cow and the cartoonish strangeness of the snake is satisfying and welcome, but I worry a bit about trying too hard. I’m divided on this, actually. Have I succeeded in producing an attractive but troubling object of contemplation, or have I come too close to a not-edgy-enough Thomas Kincaid sort of eagerness to please? I often wonder if my work isn’t pitied more than it’s admired. I’ll never know whether being an object of community ridicule is based on truth or is just a reoccurring paranoid fantasy but, either way, it doesn’t make a difference. I’m tasked only with making the most of the voice I’ve been given. Once an assignment is completed and released, it’s out of your mouth and out of your hands.