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Zee Struggle? abstStraCT thoughts on the Art of impatience

I was born with my father’s nose and my mother’s knack for impatience. So I fixed my nose, and over the years have been very aware of my struggle for patience. How does that cross over into my art?

When I have an idea, I go full steam ahead. I view my abstract art making as more of a “happening.” What happens? My whole body reacts to the moment with my heart racing. I run to put my emotions on the canvas. It’s like a monkey on my back until I’m finished. And because of my impatience, abstraction works well for me.


Abstraction, Distraction. Val Zee, Spring, 2023


When painting more realistic images it’s harder for me to know when I’m done. I need more green here. Or yellow there. Or a shadow. Or a highlight. But as I am fully aware, one more brushstroke changes the entire painting. Then it ALL needs to be reworked. This could take hours or days. Herein lies the struggle. Is less really more? Or is more, more?


Frida. Val Zee, 2022


Mona Lisa took Da Vinci 16 years until he finally looked at it and thought, “Done!”.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall for that final moment.



On average, Picasso painted 1.95 paintings per day. Over 70 years Picasso painted ~50,000 pieces of art. Is that fast painting or impatience?


Patience! Is that the key to a successful painting? Slow down! Sometimes that feels really good. But until a piece is finished, there will be anxiety. Whether it is moving fast or moving slow, making art is like all of us. A work in progress.

How do I know the piece is finished? For me it’s just a “feeling” of being done. A life metaphor? When in art class, the critique process is another way for me to know a piece is finished — the opinions of my fellow students and art teachers tell me to take a step back and be done.

And what about words of affirmation?

That’s another Zee Story. On to the next idea.

Comments? Life advice welcomed!


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