I'll look at the work and it will seem lifeless, disjointed and hopeless and I'll wonder why I ever thought that I could paint. In the past, when I hit this stage, I'd grab a small brush and start fiddling with details as if I could save a whole painting by fussing over a shadow on a cheek or the shine in some hair. Brutal results eventually convinced me that details never save a painting, bold, big changes do.
Now, when panic strikes, I crank up the Cuban music that I always paint to and grab my big #16 brush. I load it up with a clean, strong colour and dash on some decisive marks with confidence. That it's false confidence doesn't matter. I fake it till I make it.
After those powerful marks are on the canvas, the panic subsides and I'm able to carry on. I resist the little brush and try to finish with courage. Usually I'm lucky and it works out well.
The painting above got the #16 treatment when I'd come to an indecisive standstill and was mucking about repetitively with a # 6 filbert in one part of the back.
I swooped in the strong salmon colour in the background around the woman's right arm and this opened the way for more of the same all over the figure and its setting.
With these huge marks, the painting was finished in no time and the marks of timidity were erased. And it was fun!