Monday, 17 April 2017

Getting It Wrong


 On my workshops I am often asked " How often do you put work in the bin? " 
( Trash can to my American friends! )

I think there is a myth that every professional artist only paints a masterpiece every single time they pick up their brushes. And many do. But there are also many artists who enjoy experimenting with technique, or who are not completely satisfied with their results so they bin a painting to start a new one. But no painting time is wasted. By painting repeatedly we are instilling good painting ways into our creative sessions. The mistakes we make improve our work. Without paintings that are going wrong we are simply standing still in time, and possibly not getting anywhere in our personal art journey. That is, of course, unless we have reached the level we originally aimed to be as artists. At which point it is wonderful to enjoy it. But not everyone is that lucky or happy with reaching their destination.

I enjoy the journey in learning continually and growing each time I pick up my brush but i do make mistakes which I still learn from.

The funniest mistake I made recently was not with painting. Swans visit our cottage garden daily and almost live here. I can't help it, I name all the wildlife that inhabits our garden. We have Hector the heron, Russell crow and many other daily visitors. But a new young swan arrived this Spring and I eventually gave him the name Sebastian. He accompanied Sydney, our regular swan visitor,  but Sydney didn't seem very happy at first with the extra guest here and he often showed his disapproval.

Or so I thought.

This week the display of aggression by Sydney turned into an act of courtship and I quickly realised that Sebastian needed a new name. Hence the title " Sabrina" for the swan watercolour study above.

As I spring cleaned my art studio today I watched as these two swans glided by, on the water outside. They looked so regal and Sabrina seemed to be smiling. In fact I  am sure she winked at me. But that could just be my artists' imagination. Either way, she made a delightful distraction from hanging paintings in my studio and generally cleaning up. Tomorrow I can walk into my painting space and enjoy painting and get back to working on my book.

And my painting of Sabrina, painted in between clearing up, will greet me and smile at me.

What a lovely way to start my day!

Pleased to see you!


Artists Tips

1) Don't stress over paintings that don't work out. Learn from them.
2) Paint and more importantly, enjoy painting.  
3) Prepare your painting space for the next day and look forward to using it.
4) Think about what subject you would like to paint most of all and how, the night before you wake to paint!

Happy painting



BarberryLane Designs said...

Goodness, I have so enjoyed your process. I'm new to your site. Having been a working potter for over 40 years, I understand what you mean about the 'bin'. My bin was a large garbage can next to the kiln. Unloading finished wares to shelves while also standing with a hammer to smack the 'offender' (so many things can happen in a kiln-totally out of one's artistic control) and trying not to hedge. Often, pots-not perfect made their way to the workshop to hold brushes, tools, or rubber bands. Thank you for the interesting post to go along with your gorgeous paintings.

manateegirl said...

May we all continue the adventure and add to the bin! I learned that lesson the summer I was sixteen. As I stepped into our boat after water-skiing, my brother said he was disappointed with my skiing. I straightened my shoulders and huffed back that I hadn't fallen once for weeks. "Precisely my point! If you aren't falling, you aren't getting better!" For over forty-six years, my daring husband and I hiked into jungles and met practicing head-hunters, climbed Mt. Fuji during a typhoon (what fools), and sat in front of Sir Edmund Hillary on our flight into Nepal. Old athletic injuries had me stuck in chairs with enough replacement parts to make me the Bionic Woman until I discovered the adventure of painting in your classes. Now I wake up every day wondering where my painting will take me. Thank you, Jean.