Carole Marine, the artist who wrote "Daily Painting," really convinced me of the value, even the necessity, of painting often (preferably, of course, daily). These recently finished 4 x 4" canvases are helping me do just that. While I also continue to work on larger pieces, there is a lot of satisfaction in being able to look at one (or more) of these little guys each day and be able to say, "Done."
And, I certainly benefit from the practice.
When I was in grade school, I already loved to draw and paint. My parents told me I was "talented" and encouraged me, to the extent of purchasing very nice materials (Grumbacher oils and canvases, charcoal and good pencils, etc.). But, I certainly never got the impression that I should be spending any particular amount of time painting. They did not seem to have any expectations other than that I should enjoy my art.
I was also interested in being able to play the piano and was given lessons. Maybe it was that the size of their "investment" in me was appreciably greater (they even had to buy the piano, since we didn't already have one) but the lessons did come with certain expectations about daily practice.
Fast forward to my adult years, and art and music became indulgences that I just occasionally enjoyed. It was highly evident that lack of regular practice had caused my piano playing skills to deteriorate - I even lacked the necessary dexterity in my fingers. That made perfect sense to me, and I accepted that I just wasn't all that good any more - and wouldn't ever be - unless I was willing to practice assiduously. (I wasn't).
Yet, for some reason I thought that painting could be dropped for appreciable periods of time and then picked back up with no loss of skill level. You know, that "talent." But, with painting as well as with piano, your hands can lose their dexterity. Your feel for your materials will fade. You will struggle to achieve results that regular "practice" would make virtually certain because of your familiarity with the medium.
For many artists, painting is "all about the journey." The process is what they enjoy, and they seem content to let the piece develop as it will, often, it seems, without having an envisioned end product in mind. I am a plodder. I am usually trying to create a reasonably recognizable facsimile of something I love. A bird, a beach, a boat. Being fortunate enough to live near the water, these are some of the things that I enjoy seeing every day. So I do my best to paint or draw these scenes as well as I can, and If any of my emotional response to my subjects comes through, that would make me tremendously happy.
Wow. Long post.