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.
Trying to prepare lots of these little 4 x 4" "shelf-sitters" for two upcoming shows, the first of which will be installed soon, with the opening Reception scheduled for Nov 6th. Which, all of a sudden, is right around the corner! (The blue crab is not quite finished). I am working in acrylics on these to take advantage of the faster drying time. My goal is to have at least a dozen of these, all different, but all with "local" themes. "Local" being a tidewater stretch of the Potomac River on the Northern Neck of Virginia. My goal is to be able to price these at a level that will make them desirable for affordable gift-giving.
This is actually a tiny painting, 4" x 4" It was painted a year or two ago, but when it sold, I had not taken a photo of it. Just this week I visited the home of the (now) owner, and got to snap this (admittedly not very great) photo with my cellphone. It's a very nice feeling to see something that one created still being enjoyed by the person who paid you the compliment of choosing it to buy.
Three acrylic paintings that I worked on this morning (the two sandpipers more or less simultaneously). I did a lot of the paint application with my fingertips. Oddly, I don't remember ever enjoying finger-painting as a child.
A Zoom meeting interrupted my fun, but I'm looking forward to finishing all 3 up tomorrow.