Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fixing paintings

I’ve been looking at canvases I’ve already painted. We talked before about paintings that turned out badly. Sometime I look at them and see that there is nothing that could be done to save them.
But others I look at and I see that I could do something now to save them that maybe I didn’t know how to do back then.

So I’ve been fixing my bad paintings.
It’s easy to do now, because the paint has dried.

The only challenge I’ve faced is when the dried paint has texture, and I want to smooth something over the top of it.
But overall it has become another exercise in the process of learning that I have more than one chance to get things right. And I’ve been really thrilled because some of the “bad” paintings I’ve done have turned out to be my favorites after I’ve fixed them.

And I must say that the difference is very encouraging when I see it. That goes for paintings that I try a second time. I like to see the progress I’m making.
I’m learning many new things about painting. Because I started with Bob Ross, the style of painting I’ve learned is basically “alla prima” which means painting a picture start to finish in one sitting. The way Bob Ross paints, with his “liquid white” base coat, means that when I go back to fix something, I don’t have that “wet” sense to the painting, and that has been one aspect of fixing a painting that has been challenging.

But “alla prima” isn’t the only way I want to paint. I’m learning every way I can. I am still working on my self-portrait, and I hope to have that up soon.

In the meantime, here’s a painting that I did before, and took another shot at:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I don’t want to have to throw these away!

I try to paint at least twice a week, and I have to admit that the canvases are starting to stack up. So I want to find good homes for my paintings so that I’ll never have to throw one away.
I’ve been worried about this. When most people start something new, they are very self-deprecating. They recognize that their first efforts aren’t very good. That’s just the way it is. As a painter I understood that it would be a while before anyone wanted my paintings, if at all.
But then my family and friends started to express genuine appreciation of my paintings. And I started thinking. If those who know and care about me like my paintings, could other people like them too?
So I need the courage to show my paintings to people who are NOT close family and friends, and ask them to hang my paintings in their places of business.
Why not in their homes? Okay. I guess they could hang in homes. But I want them in high traffic areas where lots of people can see them.
Now, I’ve been in sales most of my life. I understand how to get out and pound the pavement and sell a product.
So I’m finding places to hang my paintings. I want to find people who might want to hang one of my pictures in their businesses.
Would you like one of my pictures?

I’d love to give you one.
Here’s one based on a picture I saw recently

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Don’t paint in stone.

I’ve noticed that spending a considerable amount of time at a painting, and having it turn out bad, is an agonizing experience.  
I stand there helplessly and watch as my creation DOESN’T turn out the way I had hoped. I watch in HORROR as paint turns to mud, or perspective turns flat, or images look amateurish. What I had hoped would be a vision of glory turns into a nightmare. When happens, I feel like I’ve failed, and my chance to put that image on canvas is lost.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
It occurred to me after a few months of painting that I could paint the same picture or idea another time! There wasn’t any rule that said that I could only paint each picture one time.

What a revelation! I get more than one shot at any picture I want to produce.
All the great painters paint studies and draw sketches of their ideas before they settle down with their palette and canvas.

You and I can do that too. We can sketch, we can make preliminary studies, and we can paint more than one attempt at anything we want to paint.
So don’t think of your paintings as etched in stone. Think of them as first, second, or third attempts.

Should you throw some of them away?
I don’t know what to tell you there. Some painters, including myself, don’t want to throw any of them away, and I’ll talk more about that later. It’s a good thing to keep them, because of what we’re talking about right now. Keeping your bad paintings give you a reference to see how far you’ve come.

Don’t carve your paintings in stone. Give yourself a fighting chance to get it right.
So set a goal, and try your paintings over and over again until you get them right.

Here’s one I painted a second time. You can go back and compare it with a painting just like it that I painted months ago. It’s here on the blog somewhere: