Monday 8 August 2016

The Value of Variation

Gladioli in Watercolour

Recently I have painted so many roses that when I begin a new painting I automatically seem to fall into the trap of painting the same subject. More roses! I do believe if you paint the same subject repeatedly you should get good at painting it, but there is a point when repetition can at times hinder our artistic progress.

I know on my workshops I often ask attending artist to try painting something that they have never painted before.Something completely new and alien to them. After a while they are often surprised at how great they are at painting their new challenge. I find my brain works far better when it is having to observe and study new subjects. Sometimes if I have painted the same subject frequently I become too comfortable with it. I find myself knowing what colour to put where and when to put my brush down. I never want to fall into the trap of being stuck in a rut as an artist, only painting what I feel confident with knowing that I will gain a good result if I paint it.

Artist Tip: Painting what we know all the time doesn't give us the chance to discover what we might be better at painting!

I want my painting time to be worthwhile. 
I want to learn and grow continually. 

And so today I took the bouquet of Gladioli I had been given over the weekend and started painting them. Their shapes are so different. I had to keep looking at them to know where my next brushstrokes needed to go. They seemed "frilly" at the edges of the petals and yet if I painted hard definite edges of these "frills" the flowers seemed to  lose their beauty. 

I had a new challenge! 

I feel as though I have done something exciting today. Tackling a new subject. Not what I always paint but something completely new which makes me feel energised. Exploring, looking for new things to paint can keep us so alive, motivated and energised. Also these new subjects can feed our knowledge, improve our painting skills and at the same time confirm what we do indeed know.

Your challenge could be to do just that. Find something new. Choose something that possibly doesn't appeal to you because that way when you do return to painting what you know it will seem even easier!

Happy painting


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