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:

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