I did my first “Daily Painting” January 15, and as of today have completed six. Although I have not been excited about anything I’ve done so far, I am definitely learning quite a bit…mostly about how to keep going even though I consider my work unsatisfactory. Honestly, I thought it would be easier for me, and that it would take just a short time to get “up to speed”…but painting has so many different elements that need to work together simultaneously to produce the magic I can see in my mind but can’t quite get down on the canvas. It’s going to take time for me to get a handle on them, and more than anything I’m trying to accept that.
The point of Daily Painting is to paint small canvases often, reducing the pressure of painting larger canvases (more expensive, more paint, more time), which allows experimentation and leads to mastering techniques more quickly and discovering style. This makes perfect sense to me…except I’m just as likely to get depressed over a little canvas as a big one…but I’m working on that. I disliked my first two paintings very much, then filled my time with my drawing classes, and decided to give it another try last week. I found motivation on dailypaintworks.com, and entered two paintings in their “Give a Tree it’s Gesture Challenge.” For now, I appreciate guidelines and it helped get me painting again…and then my drawing suffered a bit! Ah…learning how to balance time between my loves…never going to get easier.
I now realize if I wait until I love my Daily Paintings to post them, I’m not going to for a very long time…and this blog is about my journey, about what I’m learning, not about how great I am as an artist (dang it). So I’m going to notice what needs to be improved in each one, but learn to find something to like in them. I may still burn them someday, but I need this record of progress so I can believe I’m making some.
Areas to work on right now:
- Not fussing with the paint: I tend to muddy the colors by overworking them. This will get better as I’m able to mix the right color and put down in the correct spot. Easy to understand, but my biggest problem…I sneak and “scrub” in all my classes so far, when I need to discipline myself to lay down the correct color and leave it alone already.
- Drawing: I’ll be working on that for the rest of my life, but I do feel I’m improving with so much practice!
- Values: I can see them, now need to translate that to the canvas. Some of this comes from messing with colors too much, and drawing (painting over areas), causing the values to be too light.
- Subject/composition: I don’t lack for ideas, just getting them down right. I want to paint everything, but sometimes lose enthusiasm when I see my composition is wrong.
Everyone says I’m hard on myself, and I don’t disagree…but I know I can do better than this, and I won’t stop until I can. I understand all artists struggle with all these issues (and more) their entire career, but I believe there will come a point when I’m more confident, and competent, and that’s what keeps me going. I’m not neurotic, don’t enjoy beating myself up, not seeking reassurance (won’t turn it down though)…but this realization that what I’m doing is not great actually keeps me stubbornly working. And there are moments of joy, and fun, and love…I do love painting even when it doesn’t love me back!
So I’m posting all my Daily Paintings…even the ones I’ve wiped away. This is my journey, and it’s not perfect, but it must be what I need. I realize: I am so blessed that these are my problems, and I get to do art every day!