Narcissus in watercolour
I love Spring. I do. It's the most wonderful season for recharging batteries and it was a favourite part of writing my new book "Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour". Not so much the subjects that are around and included but the way it makes me feel. Which is what I have explained in my new publication.
I am currently spring cleaning my studio which is quite a task. I'm throwing away everything that is old including a few unframed paintings because if I look at where I was yesterday in style I will stay there. I want to grow every single year in technique. So I have looked at a few older daffodil paintings, learnt what I like from them and moved on in my new work.
I always suggest keeping a folder of old work to enable you to look back at to see how far you have come in your personal art journey. And oh boy I have grown. Not just in how I paint but in confidence too and I think that is the key to being a good artist. Having the confidence to try new things and admit when things are not going as you wished them to. Being honest with yourself and learning to understand that everyone , no matter how experienced they are as an artist, has off days when paintings simply don't work.
But today I had a great day. In fact I have had a great week. I have worked quietly in my studio and had a ball. So what did I create today? These two paintings of narcissus that were on my easel, as seen below, a short time ago.
Side by side
Two paintings in a similar composition of narcissus in watercolour
My first composition was of an upright spray of narcissus flowers as seen above but it didn't seem to have any energy in it. And so I started a new composition straight away, this time choosing a flowing curved arrangement which I found far more pleasing. There is a section in my new book that talks about composition and it is playing on my mind. It is about being unique and I desperately want to be each time I paint. And better in skill always.
The second composition seen below was so exciting as I used the same colours as I had done in my first painting but this time I kept them far softer. This piece is very pleasing to me.
My second and more pleasing composition in a first wash.
I am almost embarrassed to admit this but I liked the second version, above, so much more that I ripped the piece below up and put it in the bin but looking at it on my computer screen I think I may have been too hasty!
I think I have probably become far too critical of my own work. Only accepting the best as a finished painting. When I first started working in watercolour I would have been over the moon with the above result. But in time we seek something far more than a finished painting. We want it all. Each new completed piece has to have a magic about it and thats' where I am headed.
It is quite funny though in that when I first started painting I would frame almost everything. Now I don't. Only the very best work ends up for sale or in an exhibition. And I mean the very best.
I'm being very hard on myself to grow because I know what I am capable of painting. I know the skill level I can paint at. Teaching for so long on tour has taken me away from what I love best of all. Experimenting and pushing my own personal standard. Right now my goal I have set myself for this year is really high. I feel as though I am treading in old masters' footsteps because they too threw work away. Always moving onward in their quests to be superb artists.
Thats' where I want to be too.
I'm moving forward which is appropriate as the clocks moved forward in UK this weekend.
Artist tip for the day?
If you don't have room to keep old work take photos of your paintings of favourite subjects and look back regularly to see if you are improving in style or technique.
You will soon become your best teacher and be pushing yourself to improve.
As I do regularly.
Be your own mentor!
And go for gold