Here are some “aha moments” from a recent plein air workshop I attended:
Found a great spot by the river – literally, I was at water’s edge. One-step back and in the river I would have gone. The rushing of the water was pretty amazing.
Aha Moment 1: Always be safe and keep your wits about you. Nature can be unforgiving.
Rejoining the class at lunch, I found myself comparing my work to the other artists. Which is nuts, right? In this painter’s journey there will always be someone better than you and someone working to get where you currently are. Meaning – you’re perfect where you’re at, for today. Having lost sight of that for a few minutes of artistic brooding, I reminded myself that a flower blooming in the garden doesn’t compare itself to the other flowers around it, but rather it just blooms because it can.
Aha Moment 2: Trust your own brush. Don’t worry what anyone else is painting.
Stay honest to your own work.
Found myself on a hill with a beautiful vista and for whatever reason, I couldn’t translate what I saw into what my hand painted. I scraped off version 1. Painted it again. Didn’t like it. Scraped off version 2. Painted it again. Didn’t like it. Scraped off version 3 (getting old ain’t it?) Painted it again. Sort of liked it but not enough to keep. Scraped off version 4. Painted it again. And yes, I kept version 5 as I was finally able to connect with the vista and capture its essence.
Aha Moment 3: Keep your initial paint layer thin. In case you need to scrape – you can.
Other than almost getting run over by another group of cows wanting to see what I was painting, everything clicked. What is it with cows wanting to visit the artist in the funny hat? They snuck up behind me. I turned around and found myself about 10′ from the herd. I swear one was wearing a French beret. It’s best to never spook a heard of large animals (Remember Aha Moment 1). With the sun fading – my last painting of the day fell out of the brush. The sun, the shade, the warms, and the cools all came together and it really felt good. As Bob Ross said, “Happy trees.”
Aha Moment 4: Work fast to capture the essence of what’s in front of you. Trust me – the light is gonna shift.
Savor the moment you find yourself in. Be here now.
What were your “aha moments” from your last workshop? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Until next time: Connect | Engage | Unleash