A year ago I said that I had a breakthrough with painting when, after an eight-year "hiatus," I picked up a brush one day and quickly whipped out a little 8 x 10" landscape. I felt like I had truly broken through some invisible barrier that had kept me from painting for all kinds of lame "reasons." So now, a year into my renaissance, I hit a big block of frustration and I didn't want to lose my momentum again. I was agonizing over a big picture. I was going on a month of painting here and there on it, and not happy with any results but felt obligated to press on. I literally turned it around and leaned it up against the wall.
I started watching videos of alla prima painting, and at the next opportunity I tried it on a piece of 11 x 17" canvas paper. This cloud painting is the result. My mouth hung open as I painted it and when I finished. It just worked, just like the little landscape did a year ago. The keys to both were "quick" and "small." At the same time I picked up Carol Marine's book Daily Painting with the subtitle: Paint small and often to become a more creative, productive, and successful artist. I couldn't have said it better myself.
So for now I'm going to try to stick with the "littles" and not inch back into large figure work. I'll go back to it eventually--I love it and want to paint them--but simply put I need to practice more before the big performance.
Later is what?
After settling into various desk jobs, I always said I'd get back to painting later in life, and later is now. Again means that I tried once before. I decided to write about my painting endeavor, too, as a learning tool, an accountability tool, and to stay sharp in case I have to go back to a desk job. Again.
I love periodicals, and if I weren't trying to devote more time to painting I'd mail paper copies. Sign up here, and I'll conveniently send it (blog posts, sales, and new work) by e-mail instead.