Monday, December 10, 2018

Gypsy Girls

Click Here to Bid (8x8in. - starts at $150 - the red didn't photograph perfectly, sorry)

Jennifer Buxton asks:

“Hi Carol,  I really like your idea of doing a series of paintings.  What do you recommend for a painter who wants to keep working on her current painting but feels stuck...I like my effort so far but fear wrecking it if I continue, yet the thought of not finishing it makes me feel like I am adding it to the pile of almost finished paintings.  I could just start a new one in the series and then come back to this one...I guess my question is, I feel as though I often get to a point where I just don't know what to do, and I've birthed another still born.  What can you suggest? Thank you!”

Hi Jennifer and thanks! First let me say that this happens to me too. I am going along with a painting, and as soon as I get within sight of the finish, I get cold sweats. “Oh no,” I think, “this has been going so well - I’ve put hours, maybe days, into it - what if I screw it up and this has all been for nothing?!” And I’ll ask you what I always ask myself: “What horrible thing is going to happen if this painting doesn’t turn out?” I remind myself that I am not going to learn anything if I let the fear prevent me from finishing. So I might slow down a little, acknowledge the fear, maybe be a little more thoughtful as I finish the painting, but I finish.

It can be so incredibly demoralizing when you spend hours, or days, or more on a painting, only to have it not work out. It happens to me on a regular basis. My husband used to say my mood was only as good as my last painting. : ) But in the past few years I’ve been trying to celebrate those failures. They show me that I am trying new things - experimenting. Because if we stay in our comfort zone - if we only paint the things we know we’re good at, then we’re not growing as artists.

If you find you’re doing one “still born” after another, maybe you need to divide it up into parts and practice each thing separately. For example, if you’re having trouble with value, do some value sketches before you paint. Or if you’re having trouble with paint application, try a bunch of 10-minute versions of the difficult parts of your scene (like my 10-minute apples). If drawing is your problem, try drawing your scene a few times - I promise it will get better each time. Find a similar scene on Pinterest that you like and copy it for practice. Maybe you will learn that it is your composition that needs to be improved, rather than how you paint it. Most of all, don’t ever consider your efforts a waste of time (or materials)!!! With each brush mile you improve, even if you don’t have anything to show for it at the end of the day. The worst thing you can do is let it demoralize you to the point that you stop trying.

And one more thing, I recommend putting those bad ones away as quickly as possible. They will suck your soul if you leave them out where you see them every time you go into your studio. Hide them, throw them out, paint over them, but most of all, move on quickly.

Oh, oh! And try taking a picture of your painting, loading it onto your computer or tablet, and trying out a few endings, digitally, before committing to paint. : )

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