I wish I could paint every day

Stuart Bush Studio, No bodies fault, I wish I could paint every day
©Stuart Bush, Nobodies fault detail, I wish I could paint every day

I wish I could paint every day…

Every day I paint I have an adventure into the unknown.
 
Every day I am excited by the possibilities in the work.
 
Every day I paint I enjoy the production of novelty the most.
 
Every day I paint, I decide what I want to work on the night before.  My unconscious mind thinks and contemplates it overnight. The next day I effortlessly to know where to start.
 
Every day I paint I don’t make it overly complicated.
 
Every day I paint my studio has to be free from distractions so l can get into a creative flow and stay in it. I get completely caught up and saturated in what I am doing.  The painting leads the way, my hand and brush are in control rather than my brain.  I have a deep involvement with the activity and time becomes distorted.
 
Every day I paint, it is not clear what needs to be done. The solution is elusive and an accident. Only when I am in a flow of creativity, unconscious decision making takes place. I surprise myself and produce work I am happy with.
Stuart Bush Studio, No bodies fault, I wish I could paint every day
©Stuart Bush Nobodies fault detail, I wish I could paint every day
Every day I paint, I try to be satisfied when the work is complete. If I put unnecessary pressure and stress on myself and let my perfectionist outlook win, the results are never good enough to meet my standards.
 
Every day I paint I hope something good will come, but if it doesn’t I don’t worry. Whether it is good or bad, that really doesn’t matter.  When I finish, I always turn the work towards the wall and quickly move on to the next task.
 

Related post to Every day I paint;

Drawing the creative act
Every day I paint I consider the work from previous sessions and give myself feedback. This enables me to move forward. I have to decide which ideas can be developed and which direction to take and then l know what to work on during the next session.
 
Every day I paint I am unsure if I am getting anywhere.  Often I take one step forward, two steps sideways and one backwards.  Every little while I stop and look back. Over months and years rather than days I learn something new and l know l am growing as a painter and as a person.  
 
Every day I paint I am not interested in money and fame.  It’s the pursuit that counts, not the attainment.  I always enjoy and have fun within the process.
 
Every day I paint I work towards achieving something meaningful. My lifelong ambition is to make a significant contribution to culture.  In doing so, I hope to help the human condition. 
 
Every day I paint I love what I do. I love the process of making art more than the work I produce.
 
I wish I could paint every day.
 
Stuart Bush Studio, No bodies fault, I wish I could paint every day
©Stuart Bush, Nobodies fault, oil on board 70.2 x 50.4 x 3.6cm, I wish I could paint every day

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The ideas behind, ‘Empire State of Mind’ painting

©Stuart Bush, Empire state of mind, oil and acrylic on canvas, 85 x 150cm
Any further questions about this painting please email me here.
As humans beings, we have an extraordinary ability to recognise an image and label it.  A silhouette of a person is instantly recognisable. A two-dimension shape of the figure is not human, but we can read it as an image of a person.  I am interested in using this extraordinary ability to record and to explore the structure and nature of reality.
 
My new painting, ‘Empire State of Mind,’ has a lot to do with how my mind is working on and wondering about my instincts regarding perceptual information. I am trying to show and paint what I see. I’m not inventing; I’m investigating how things look. I’m an image maker, painting the previously hidden nature of things. I receive an emotional response from an image as I discover an optical relationship and create a striking composition. I have stepped away from the conventional representation of reality in order to be competitive with it.  The deeper I go into this practice of painting, the more mysterious it becomes.
 
Installation view of my recent exhibition at Floor 1 Gallery, Rugby Art Gallery and Museum
 
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Responding to striking art

©Stuart Bush, People are less memorable than the circumstances in which they were in encountered, part 2. Acrylic on board – SOLD
As an artist, my work is an extension of me. Each painting has its own interesting story to tell and I enjoy disclosing anecdotes of how the work came into being.  A painting has its own power. When a striking artwork makes a connection and speaks to the viewer, it invokes a deeply personal relationship.
 
Everyone reads each piece of art differently.  I find it very gratifying to discover how art lovers respond to my work.   I love to hear different and engaging interpretations. I get an overwhelming feeling of happiness when I can see this connection occurring on a persons face as they light up.
 
Art is not about the potential value; what it costs or what it is worth. Art shouldn’t be seen a financial investment or a commodity.  A vibrant, bold and skilful painting should bring pleasure and make you think. It should add an extra dimension to any room it is hung in. 
 
Owning a piece of art is about looking at it and enjoying it. This emotional affinity creates a tremendous, heartwarming feeling. Once the purchase is made it becomes part of its owner’s life and integral to their home and their identity. 
 
If you would like to hear more from me about my art, my influences and my journey as an artist, please sign up for my mailing list by clicking here.

Stuart Bush’s Charity Art Sale – helping to give something back to the community

 
 
I am acutely aware of the vital role of the Air Ambulance has in getting doctors to the scene of life-threatening emergencies and airlifting people to a hospital.  I am also aware that the Air Ambulance exists only with the help and support of the local community.   I have decided to combine this art exhibition with supporting the local community    For this unique one-off exhibition l have also reduced my prices to allow more people to buy art.   This art exhibition is more than just about me and my art, it is about giving something back, about supporting the community that l live in and the people l live with.
 
 
The paintings in this exhibition are from 2006-2017.  The theme and ideas that have inspired this work are related to my emotional response as an individual to the city.  This body of work started as a realistic interpretation of street photography. It captures feelings of alienation and angst in the human-made environment. However, the snapshots of life caught something that l wasn’t expecting.  The fleeting moments of line, shapes, and space intrigued me, and I slowly became interested in this interrogation of space in the public realm.
 
 
This body of work finishes with the beginning of something new.  The artwork moves past looking at the dislocation and fragmentation in our contemporary world to the mysterious and intriguing unknown entity of space. In this new direction for my work, I want to explore the existence of the space that enables everything else to exist.  I want to draw the attention away from objects that people make, to the space around us, to create a portal to somewhere else.
 
 
I hope that by raising funds for the charity through selling my paintings, I can bring even more meaning to life through my art.  Every £5 raised could pay for pressure dressings to control a patients bleeding.  Every £10 raised could pay for enough fuel to fly 11 miles towards the nearest major trauma centre.
Stuart Bush’s Charity Art Sale @ Rugby Art Gallery and Museum

I hope you can help me support the local air ambulance charity.

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Why do I paint?

With consumerism at the forefront of western society and seen as the purpose of life, we live to work, to earn and to consume, this is a significant part of our lives. However, I find myself drawn to expressing an alternative view of life through my art. Why do I paint..? I want to communicate what I see.

Although many people see painting as being based on traditional values and having a limitation to address contemporary issues, I believe that painting offers the challenge of finding new meanings. I see it as a way to create new insight and uniquely capture people’s imagination. Some people might see this view of painting as naive, that nothing is truly original anymore in this postmodern society.

But for me, other forms of communication don’t compare with the excitement of art. They don’t come close to allowing me the opportunity to look in detail at the interesting and unexplained things l see about me in this world of ours. I am interested in the position that a painter has in relation to the world. I discover things through painting. When I paint, I am looking at the history of art, the present and the future by painting myself and the world.

Through painting, I have a chance to investigate something that is evasive. I continually have to ask myself what it is that I see. I try hard to identify what it is, as it continuously slips. I never get a chance to see what it would be like if l did something else while painting because, what I love about painting is that you can’t undo the last mark. It is utterly instinctive, for me this makes the process of painting is addictive. I’m always hoping for improvement, but realising that grasping a frightening clarity by showing my true soul and that of the world is unattainable. But I keep coming back to try again. The question nearly always arises; do I risk spoiling it by continuing or do I start a new painting? I am a risk taker and painting suits my way of working and what I want to communicate. I love taking risks as l try to unlock the world about me.

I have a deep down urge to try to master a form of expression where I can communicate my unique view, where I am part of the painting. When I feel this, I feel like I am doing what I am here for. I get deep joy and despair, anxiety and confidence. I feel more alive.

©Stuart Bush A pocket full of dreams 2010 oil on canvas, 120.4 cm x 160.4 cm

This painting titled ‘A pocket full of dreams’. Take a moment to stop and think what this painting says to you. Pull back the curtain, to consider what it means to be human. In my view, people rely too much on words.

Exploring through making

©Stuart Bush, The Quality of Absence, oil on aluminium panel, 80 x 112 cm

Taking on the history of art and making something new or original is very challenging. Everything seems to have been done before. Picasso said, “good artist copy, great artist steal.” Banksy crossed Picasso’s name out and stole what he said. “The bad artists imitate, the great artists steal.” Pablo Picasso Banksy.

Advertising was stripped and cleansed by Warhole as he took and re-aligned it’s image, colour and details. Pop art mirrored the overload of capitalism by using the tasteless and repetition of consumerism itself. The minimalist through their dislike for capitalism made no attempt to represent the outside, they approached art making differently, by focusing on materials and order, the form of the work became their reality. They accumulated objects and striped them bare. The supermarket stack became a careful composed stack of bricks reflecting the coldness and emptiness. The minimalists, like the pop artists before, wanted to say wake up and smell the coffee, capitalist and consumerist objects are empty and without meaning. No matter how much you buy there is still no hope of transcendence or ascendancy.

I strove to create a dialogue with what came before, Pop art, minimalism and Koons amongst others. However, my work has developed over time, and through setting up my own system of working, my thoughts have moved on. I am no longer focused on creating a dialogue about consumerism even though that’s where I started. My work has deepen and expanded through the process of making. My painting ‘the quality of absence’ allows the viewer to indulge in their own taste and expectations.

I now experiment with and explore a visual grammar. I take shapes and forms with colours and look for the underlining beauty beyond the emptiness of the surface culture. This work is extremely hand crafted with physical man made marks made through painting. By exploring pictorial convention I have developed an interest in the language of space; the space between art and life.

This new work certainly seems to have struck the right note, ‘the quality of absence’ has gone to a new home. The home of one of my customers.

Stuart Bush, The Quality of Absence

Review – Transient Space at the Parafin Gallery, London

No Omega, Sentry and Superstrasse by Mike Ballard and Tracer video by Melanie Manchot. Photo courtesy of Parafin Gallery, London
I often walk the streets of London and wonder about the space I am looking at and the transient passing of time.  I wonder what I should take from my short lived fleeting moments.  This is the subject of a group show at Parafin Gallery in London titled the ‘Transient Space’ as artists Mike Ballard, Nathan Coley, Keith Coventry, Tim Head, Melanie Manchat and Abigail Reynolds explore the space in the city.
 
Parafin Gallery just off Bond Street has been open for three years and shows emerging and established artists.  While I was there, I felt that l had the two floors to myself in the slender venue with plenty of time to browse and enjoy the fascinating show.
Tracing the city with their feet, a free runner on top of the Sage Gateshead in Melanie Manchots, Mesmerising, video installation, Tracer, 2013. Photograph Melanie Manchot; courtesy Parafin, London
Trying to make sense of transient space for many would seem futile.  I’m sure the general public would ask why would you want to make sense of the space.  Isn’t space just space, what possibly could be said about it?  However, focusing on similarly unimportant and the overlooked is the role of the artist.
Tracing the city with their feet, a free runner on top of the Sage Gateshead in Melanie Manchots, Mesmerising, video installation, Tracer, 2013. Photograph Melanie Manchot; courtesy Parafin, London
These artists are like particle physicists, interested in the basic elements of space and mass, and how are they created.  Instead of trying to understand the world through science and maths they are creating a springboard to express ideas and emotions through art.  By doing so, they capture the symphony of the city and together they fill the exhibition space, using their art to prompt a response and to allow the viewer to develop a better understanding of what has previously been overlooked.  The French composer Claude Debussy said, “Music is the space between the notes.”  This group of artists are focusing on just that, the space between the notes.
 
Parade Sculptures, 2015 by Nathan Coley; courtesy Parafin, London
Many works caught my attention starting with Nathan’s Coley’s, Firas, Ido, Rere, Ruth and Rima from 2015 made out of aluminium and perspex and approximately 130 x 35 x 35cm each.  Nathan Coley studied at the Glasgow School of Art from 1985 to 1989, and in 2007 he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.  Before I knew that Coley has said his sculptures, ‘refer to a state of being, architectures subjected to a physical shift and partially destroyed due to an act of conflict,’  I was enjoying the way the models were presented as simple constructions of architecture made in aluminium and perspex.  This extra layer of information and with the handles on the sculptures it gives a protester the opportunity to raise the base of the pieces of sculptures aloft, elevating them, making the architecture into political statements. Nathan Coley believes these places have weight and value and he encourages the viewer to see the world from his perspective.  These architectural placards instil belief, belief in the importance of humanised spaces and the visible landscape of architecture.  It is a a declaration of sentiment that these places should be cherished and these precious spaces not blown up through conflicts.   
 
Installation shot, The past is always present, Buckingham Palace by Abigail Reynolds. Sharing Smoke, Neighbourhood Watch Mike Ballard 2017 – Photograph by Abigail Reynolds, cortesy of Parafin Gallery
 
Meanwhile, Mike Ballard’s work is interested in the grainy side of the city, his interest clearly comes from his time as a graffiti artist before studying at art Central Saint Martins.  Through a fascination of his abstract marks in forgotten places, Mike turns the overlooked into a beautiful language and abstract art form.  Not as a painter of original abstractions but by using the city as a readymade, balancing surfaces of concrete, wood and street signs with partly removed stickers and images into a visual noise of the spaces.  They capture decisive abstract moments turning them into things of beauty.  Mike’s work encourages you to focus on the fabric of the city, so you never see it the same again.  After seeing his work, l feel encouraged to further my own understanding of taking a slice of the city in search of the poetry of the city.  The show continues until 16th September.

Why am I interested in these moments?

 

©Stuart Bush, Strange Heart Sings, oil on board 30 x 40 cm
 
In my artwork, I am interested in these moments to give myself a better appreciation of the world. I am interested in considering the world anew from a fresh perspective.  We often overlook the familiar, and I want to explore its depths.  I want to become more aware of the humble things we ignore like volume, form and space.  I want to pursue a direction where I take note of and record the visual information from the beauty of nature and the material world that is right in front of me.  
 
My intention to create a re-enchantment with what is unnoticed and to appreciate ordinary moments. Abstract shapes and imperfect forms have no obvious signs of importance and are seen as unimportant. I want to draw attention to their overlooked beauty and their aesthetic qualities.   
 
The paintings are not an exact transcript of the scene but a perceiving of the scene.  They focus on simple forms.  Creating space for silence and thought in a world where everything is constantly moving and unfixed.  The paintings are a window of reality, telling no lies, reinventing nothing, just recording, a reworking of the spatial chaos of the visible world.  
 
In the paintings, the flat images are to help us deal with the complexity of our perception. Our minds automatically make connections with the shapes.  There is a lack of perspective, there is no direction of light, and they have different rules of composition.  The shapes and forms are like the pleasurable moments of seeing an elephant in the clouds; the forms slip between representational and abstract pattern.  At this point forms and content merge into together like a beautiful poem.
 
This painting is on show at Leyden Gallery, 9/9a Leyden Street, London E1 7LE.  There is a private viewing between 6:30 – 9 pm in 18 July 2017, please come along.

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Giacometti’s endless strive for perfection – A review of Alberto Giacometti at Tate Modern (10 May – 10 September 2017)

Man Pointing 1947Bronze 178 x 95 x 52 cm Tate, Purchased 1949 © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

The figure was a challenging subject after the war.  For many artists, it appeared an almost impossible theme and one that Alberto Giacometti felt he had to take on in his art. The Swiss sculpture, painter, draughtsman and printmaker savoured the challenge of confronting man’s inhumanity to man with such determination that he spent his life working towards this goal in an endless strive for perfection.  The exhibition at Tate Modern takes a fresh look at Giacometti’s modern art, asking questions about the success of Giacometti’s life work. In this review, I am interested in considering the competing advantages of working with a strive for perfection against settling for artwork that is good enough in a discourse that could help me with my work.

Alberto Giacometti 1901 -1966 was born in Val Bregaghn in Switzerland. He was the son of the successful post-impressionist painter, Giovanni Giacometti. Alberto Giacometti was interested in art from an early age, at thirteen he made his first sculpture of his brother Diego, and in 1922 he moved to Paris to continue his education as an artist. Giacometti was awarded the grand prize for sculpture representing France at the Venice Biennale in 1962. 

The exhibition space at the Tate Modern starts with his formative years when Giacometti depicts what he sees from life.  As the show progresses Giacometti experiments with cubist and surrealist sculptures such as Head-Skull (1934), Torso (1925) and Cubist figure (1926). The sculptures of this period have a real physical interaction; it is interesting to see that Giacometti is trying and struggling to get a grip of his extraordinary personal view of reality.  The angular sculptures take on and contemplate the space around the figure. A cheek bone is not directly represented as a cheek bone. Instead, Giacometti creates a poetic essence of the form.  This extract of essence allows the sculpture to be an object in itself, completely eye-catching and unmatched, different from anything else.

Woman with her Throat Cut 1932Bronze (cast 1949) 22 x 75 x 58 cm National Galleries of Scotland © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

It is clear that Giacometti quickly realised that depicting only what he saw in life was limiting.  The concept of these sculpture came from an alternative source when he saw fully formed ideas in his head.  The forms have a power and force about them that relates to forms and shapes from primitive art.  They contain a real freedom as if Giacometti was grappling with a concept and trying to put it in his work.  It is a remarkably varied body of work.  To me the work shows Giacometti at his experimental best.  When he went for good enough and when he had not expected the public to see some this work.   For me, this was a real highlight of the show.

Later in his career, Giacometti dedicated himself to mainly depicting men walking and standing, as well as busts and nude women.  He became known for his sculpture of thin figures with, “just enough clay for the figure to stand up and nothing more.” This approach enabled him to pursue the question further as he considered the essence of man and his following work resonated with existentialist art lovers and collectors.

Very Small Figurine c.1937-1939Plaster, traces of colour 4.5 x 3 x 3.8 cm Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

In his pursuit to capture the essence, Giacometti felt the need to limit access to what inspired him. A walk in the wood was too much for him to take in. A short walk looking at one tree at a time in Paris is all he felt he could cope with. Giacometti said, “Having a quarter of an inch of something, you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you had pretended to be doing the whole thing…by trying to draw a glass [on a table] as you see it seems like a fairly modest undertaking. But because you know that glass even that is almost impossible.”  By limiting his inspiration, Giacometti felt that it would give him a better chance of getting to the bottom of his goal and his continuous strive for perfection.  By limiting himself to only having a handful of models enabled Giacometti to focus on developing a distinctive visual language that everyone could recognise as his.  From this Giacometti felt he could go deeper into how, we, as individuals relate to others. He worked towards capturing the self-consciousness and the universal feeling of being alone in this world.

Each time Giacometti made a sculpture he always had a strong feeling of failure. Giacometti wasn’t  looking for a way to lie to himself.  He didn’t tell himself that what he was doing was good enough.  He was after perfection and anything else fell short. This disparity between his objective and his implementation opened up a breathing space for his next work, often Giacometti then repeated his previous piece. Even though he knew it was impossible to create a perfect response, Giacometti said, “All I can do will only ever be a faint image of what I see.”

Pierre Matisse, Giacometti working on Four Figurines on a Stand at the Tate Gallery,1965 © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2017

This later work grapples with getting hold of the essence of the figure and although this is where he truly becomes a master, the control of inspiration that he uses can lack some of this freedom of exploration. I have always had a high affinity with Giacometti’s work. In this exhibition I wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t focused on perfection. What if Giacometti had continued to make one-off pieces of experimental work through his career, producing work that is good enough rather than perfect?  I wonder what else Giacometti could have produced?

There is an energy that comes out of Giacometti’s work that makes his work compelling. It was interesting to watch a video of Giacometti at work in the exhibition.  He made heavily worked surfaces through squeezing, pulling, touching and pushing clay.  It was surprising watching his unconscious creativity and his obsessive restless movements as he worked on the form. Giacometti was fascinated by the head and eyes in his sculptures; he felt they represented the core of human beings and life. By getting the eyes right the rest of the figure he believed would fall into place.

Bust of Diego c.1956 Plaster 37.3 x 21.5 x 13 cm Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

There is a lot to be said for comparing this to other artist’s practices. Mondrian’s repetitiveness allowed him to pursue his interest in how one shape of colour works in competition with black and white.  If Mondrian had only made one painting of a black grid with white, red and blue squares, it would of never have got to the bottom of his interest in visual order.  Without this repetitiveness, he would of never of been able to ask profound questions about the visual world and his belief that everything is an illusion. Mondrian thought that using repetition highlighted his belief that an abstract painting is truer to reality than a painting depicting the illusion of what we see.

Picasso, however, was well known for reinventing his art every few years, like his cubist works and blue period.  Picasso used new approaches to get to the bottom of his desire to depict his personal view of the world.  Matisse also reinvented his approach to making art several times, finishing his career with the biggest risk of all the cut out.  I wonder about these different contrasting approaches and wonder what approach would suit me best my practice.

In my eyes, failures are as valuable as successes.  Giacometti endlessly pursued, his search to find the universal poetic essence of a figure and the truth of our shared humanity. Giacometti did this by focusing on one tree in the forest at a time or one person in a crowd of millions.  Through this approach, he captured alienation and melancholy of life.  His engagement with searching for a truth that was always out of his reach lead him down a very restrictive path.

Woman of Venice V 1956Painted plaster 113.5 x 14.5 x 31.8 cm Collection Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris © Alberto Giacometti Estate, ACS/DACS, 2017

While it is admirable to focus intensely on, “a quarter of an inch of something.”  I wonder if Giacometti’s approach of limiting his inspiration and his endless strive for perfection or whether a wider body of experimental approach would suit my approach to art making?

Giacometti created a distinctive visual language with his thin sculptures of man that enabled him to find success in his lifetime.  Dreaming something up and executing it and working and stuff comes out are quite different approaches.  The lightning bolt of inspiration doesn’t strike on demand.  There is a lot to be said for starting to work and seeing what you can produce and where it takes you.

I think what I take forward for my practice from this Giacometti exhibition is that developing some kind of process is essential for removing too much thinking and self-doubt.  It is not hard to make art that looks like other art; the trick is making art that doesn’t look like someone else.  Giacometti achieved that.  Pushing your art to where no one else is working is a lot more of a quest than striving for perfection.  Problem creation with self-imposed limitations can easily be devised into a practice.  In that practice, it can be a positive decision to limit your inspiration or choices.  The only conclusion is in Giacometti’s approach is no matter what you try humankind is beyond human understanding.

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Live, paint, repeat

When starting as an artist rather than waiting for a big idea, I took my camera to the city. I took pictures of everything and anything that interested me. I just pressed and released the shutter. When l reviewed my photos, l realised that l was naturally discovering interesting material. My ideas came from living, painting and repeating.

When returning to the city with my camera, l followed my natural curiosity and my ideas deepened and expanded. At times it was hard to choose which way to take my work. It was essential to review and understand what l had. I took many directions but kept returning to taking photos of the city and taking them forward by painting them on canvas. The trick is not to give up Helsinki Bus Theory link.

I realised over time that my original idea was chasing some obscure knowledge through a simple process that I could repeat.

I feel like I have been painting the same painting for ten years as now I realise that my original ideas just got the work started. The original idea is still in my work but it has changed and developed in ways l could never have predicted. My work has grown to portray something unique that help us to understand our life on this earth a little better.

These seeds begin to germinate in many different directions like a plant does when it is attracted to light and water. It has taken many years for my original ideas and intentions to bloom into flowers. Now the interesting thing is not my original ideas or intentions. It is that l have found my way to communicate; my unique voice and inclination. As my work has deepened and expanded, it has lined up with natural talent, unlocking bigger ideas. Bigger ideas that l could never have predicted ten years ago.

The point of this post is that it is impossible to know where your practice as an artist will take you. One of the biggest challenges is learning to trust the decisions you make and to stop doubting yourself. Instead, l have developed confidence in my inner voice even when l can’t see where it is taking me.

My advice is to play, as there is no such thing as a mistake. Anything can lead to a breakthrough. If self-doubt is getting the best of you put your trust in a process and live, paint, repeat.

Over time when you review your work a way forward should reveal itself. Trust yourself and your creative process. Rather than paying attention to your own intentions, pay attention to what the work actually does. When the thinking and doing come together the work becomes more convincing.

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