I was right. I’ve made some sort of breakthrough. This picture is alive in a way that none of the earlier ones have been.
Some of it is improved technique. I’ve learned how to handle my materials more competently and gained some knowledge of which brush to use in which circumstance, though as far as that goes I’m pretty basic.
Mostly it was a breakthrough in seeing. Not in the extremely realistic sense — if I wanted literal detail, I’d take a picture. But in the sense of “this is what *I* see.” It’s still representational, no question it’s leaves in a vase, but it’s about the colors, and the effects, and the fact that the leaves are dying. So it’s bright and cheerful and kind of creepy all at once.
I don’t know whether this is anything that can or will carry over to my writing. It seems to be about me, not about the words. But the words come from me, so there’s a connection.
And I seem to have stopped worrying about the mechanics of writing and editing — I’m thinking about the story and how it works, not about how I’m going to do it. I’m getting out of my own road.