Thursday, November 14, 2013

Having Everything We Need

In my last post, I suggested that we need to give ourselves the gift of abundance in painting.Since writing that post, I've had a few more thoughts on the subject!

I believe we already have everything we need to be painters and compassionate beings. One hopefully goes with the other! We sometimes think that if we only had a better set of pastels or more paint, or had better reference photos or more training we'd paint more; waiting for some future condition to manifest so we can do the work that we have dreamed of doing. Waiting for the perfect conditions to arise will simply never happen. Perhaps take the view that the conditions are perfect right this very moment. Better to do it badly, than not at all. Hopefully painting often and with some intention will bring desired results, but it will most likely also bring a great deal of joy no matter.  It's a journey worth the frustration and fear that can come up.

I have a friend who is a struggling artist, but is very committed to being a full time artist. He scrapes by every month, but he paints and continues to get his name out there and to improve his skills. He paints on anything he can find and with any paint he can get his hands on.

I also have students that buy extremely large pastel sets and sit frozen in front of them and students who feel, if the only they had such and such pastel, their piece would work.

People ask how I pick a particular toned paper for a particular piece; do I choose it because it is complimentary or analogous to my intended reference? Honestly, I usually use whatever is in the drawer! If I always waited for the right paper,  or a complete set of pastels, I'd seldom paint.

I've overcome the fear of scarcity that runs really deep for most of us. It's a hard one, but after years of being self-employed, I conquer it most of the time. And, I'll paint with whatever I have on hand, whether or not it's the best quality or the "right" thing. Gosh, I'll use house paint and cardboard in a pinch. My thought is to just paint, not over think it. Just paint.

Fresh off the easel. 48x48 oil on canvas

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Three Ways to Improve Your Painting Today!!

Ok, this sounds a little like a sales pitch. Well, to be honest it is. But not in the way you think. The pitch is to get you to the easel, and make the most of this fall/winter period of painting. It's my favorite time of year to paint. I love to hunker down in my studio and get into a deep groove of painting. It's going to get cold and rainy outside, so I'll be really satisfied with time spent in my new, warm digs; I have a gas fireplace just a couple feet from my easel now, so it will be nice and toasty!!

So here's my three things to improve your painting:

1. Make a "Little" Plan

I do mean little. Whether you call it a thumbnail, a notan, a value study, it doesn't really matter. What matters is taking a few minutes to work out your composition and value plan ahead of time. This doesn't mean you stay slavishly to this plan if something else wonderful arises, it just means you'll likely not get caught by an unresolved composition which will just be magnified in the larger version.

2. Be Abundant

Yes, our materials are expensive. So is food. So is everything. I do know that if I worry about wasting, I'll waste. I will be stingy in painting and the painting will be stingy. So, I paint like the proverbial billionaire and try not to worry about it too much.

3. Be Compassionate

I try to be kind to myself and realize that not every day is going to produce a "winner", not even every other day or even every week. That's just part of the process and the "bad" ones are not just part of it but a necessary part of it. Love the bad ones as much as the "winners". You can't always be up or you wouldn't know what down was!

As Always, happy painting!