Sunday, December 07, 2008

A painting a day

A wintery morning a few years ago.  
Today it 35  (F)degrees and clear...

I'm not sure that I mentioned to everyone that I have finished my painting a day regimen. I did stick to it for two years... Now, I will only paint several small paintings a week. Its good practice and allows me a kind of freedom that I don't always have with the larger works or commissions. Looking back over my painting a day commitment, I know it was good for me and I learned a lot. Mostly about myself. It was surprising because with only a few hours to finish a painting each day, I had to pick either a simple subject or a difficult subject painted simply. Usually (not always, everyone likes a shortcut once in a while) I opted for a difficult subject painted simply. Thus I found all kinds of ways to create depth, tried my hand at abbreviated brush strokes and learned to like things with accidents, drips, soft edges and less detail. Basically, how to do everything economically, This wasn't a big stretch because I learned long ago that I loved realism but that I really loved loosely painted, wet into wet, free flowing water color even more. So.... as each day progress, I tried to incorporate a less detailed approach. I learned to trust my instincts, gave myself permission to just try it, like not fighting the urge to put that color in there or leave out those lines or change the perspective to whatever usually doesn't seem right. My style seemed to emerge little by little, one day I would stand back and say, "I like that!"... then figure out why, add that to my mental list of gotta do that more often" and my approach to painting gradually and uniquely became my own. For me, one of the best things that happened is I don't beat myself up over poorly painted work. I don't feel let down by the not so perfect paintings... I now know (not just intellectually, but really know) the road is not a straight one where, when you reach the end, you are a perfect painter, never creating another work of art that is less then perfect. Best of all, I don't have that feeling that every work I start has to end up a masterpiece, its ok to try anything, push forward into unknown color schemes, unfamiliar products and subject matter. Each painting doesn't have to be better than the last and I'll learn something about painting and about myself with each painting so they all have value. Even if they end up in the trash. P.S. If it bothers you to throw them out, gesso over them and paint another painting in a few days when the gesso is dry.

1 comment:

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

I SOOOO agree with you! I find that the more I paint, the braver I become in trying new things without worrying about creating masterpieces. It no longer hurts to give up on a painting and say "well, that didn't work", but I have less of those episodes because I am liking what I am doing better now. While I haven't participated in the daily painting movement, I certainly am painting more than ever before and I recognize a growing instinct bank happening.

Good stream of consciousness in this post of yours.