By Jesper Ejsing
I was drunk yesterday. Here in Denmark we have a tradition that goes like this: when Christmas time is around the corner, we get all together for Christmas lunches (meaning lots of old-fashioned greasy, meaty dishes and lots of alcohol) Well; this particular lunch happened to be with the guys at the studio, present and old members. Soon I got into a discussion about what is important in doing art as a pro. You know: one of those drunken discussions ending with 2 guys leaning into each-other drooling: “ I love you man”.
But before we got to that part, we talked about our attitude towards the process of creating images. And it got me thinking of what I think is important when I do my thing...
I have one rule. If I do not like a drawing, why would anybody else?
Above anything I try to satisfy myself first... yeah yeah, artistically, I mean.
I am not in this to make money or to just get the work approved. I always want to create the best painting of my life every time I start thumb sketching a new piece.
Needless to say, this raises the bar a bit, and, needless to say, it seldom happens.
But my point is, I try to make it happen. My wife hates when I say it. Usually this scene plays out when I come home from a day of sketching, the painting still in its infancy and the thumb so unclear that it could be anything, but none the less I have a great feeling about it and blurt out: “I think this will be my best painting ever”. That is when my wife sighs, knowing full well that I will be back the next day, moody as hell, tormented with insecurity and self loathing, like a helpless child, at how unable I am to reach that formidable picture I had in my head from the thumb the day before.
It is a bumpy road.
It is rollercoaster of ups and mostly downs, but in the end it is worth the struggle.
When a painting does succeed and when it is better than anything I have ever done before, it is worth every drop of salty tears and thrashed sketches. The feeling you get from taking a step up the ladder of skill or achievement is the best.
But it only happens approximately 3 times a year. Mostly the result is just decent.
Just decent doesn´t teach you anything. It is not worse or better than the last piece. Just decent is OK. But having set out to do The Best Ever, the just decent is a major disappointment.
Still, disappointments make me want to try even harder next time. “
THIS will be the best ever...”
and there we go again.
Here are a couple of paintings that I remember to have given me the feeling of success and grandeur. Some of them might seem like the rest of the fantasy stuff I constantly blotch out like a slow color printer from the 80s´, but to me these are examples of pieces where I dared something new and difficult and got it right, where the process taught me a lot and helped define where I wanted to go as an artist.