At a recent Roger Dale Brown workshop, Roger commented he had once attempted to paint 365 paintings in a year, but had (tongue in cheek) “failed” by only finishing 350. The whole class chuckled as he related the story. But it got me thinking. Getting home I counted 90 attempted paintings thus far which is the most I’ve ever attempted in a year. So what have I learned?
Not every painting is a keeper. Get over it.
While parts of a particular painting may be worthy, not every painting deserves a frame. Some paintings are destined for the sander and a Gamblin Ground coating. This is normal for a painter.
While not every painting is a keeper, every painting has been a teacher.
I can look at each painting and tell you what I’ve learned. Value. Color. Design. The list is almost endless. Each painting has been a signpost along the Progress Highway.
The first decision is always correct.
Qiang Huang in Plein Air magazine said, “Obviously some decisions will be better than others, but one has to start out with the assumption that the first decision is correct.” pg 35/Plein Air Magazine, Feb.-Mar 2015. I agree. You can push paint or it can push you. Knowing the opening brush stroke is always correct takes the pressure off of starting a painting.
Judging is best left to others.
I’m way harder on my work than others are. Finding a balance between a fair discerning eye and not judging takes practice.
Talent is only skin deep, perseverance cuts to the bone.
Consistency is what makes an artist a painter. Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t become Mr. Olympia by thinking about lifting weights. He actually had to visit the gym and he had to stay at it. Pick up the brush!
Speed doesn’t kill. Hesitation does.
My time to complete a painting has decreased. I used to paint fast in acrylics because acrylics dry quick. Now, using oils, I find myself painting fast because I don’t want to overthink my decisions but rather allow the spontaneity to spill onto the canvas.
The only perfect painting is the next one.
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci. In other words, paint what you see and set it aside. Move on to the next in eager anticipation.
I hope these tidbits will inspire your inner artist to paint more or write more or sing more…. Be prolific with your art! The more quantity you have, the more apt you are to achieve quality.
What about you? How is this year shaping up for you? Feel free to share in the comments.
Onwards, Sideways, and Wahoo!