I had such a great journey with this painting and I'm a little sad that it's over. This painting really went smoothly and didn't hit any roadblocks. I was excited to work on it every day when I woke up. I'm going to sign it tomorrow and then let it dry before I varnish it.
I wanted to share another insight that I had regarding technique. Last night, I was thinking about the importance of oiling out. For those who don't know, oiling out means covering the canvas with pure oil so that the dry colors come back to life. So last night I was thinking about whether or not oiling out is important. I went back and forth about the merits of it versus the necessity of it. I realized that the only way to solve this problem is to try it out and see what happens. It doesn't do any good to overthink a problem while you're not working.
I see a lot of painters spend way too much time contemplating technique, which brush to use, which canvas to use, etc. The thing is that you won't figure out what works by not working. Let action do your thinking for you.
The only technique that matters, is action.
I just started a new painting of my dog, Maea. It's a fairly small painting and I'm using an oil ground panel that I prepared a few weeks ago. This is day 1, so it's still really rough, but I think I'll be able to finish it in 3-5 days. I also might add a simple background to it also.
As the Summer is ending, it's getting nice and cool in my garage where I paint. And every time I get to work, I remember why I love painting so much. I'm really very happy with all the progress that I've been making recently. And I still can't believe that I'll be teaching oil painting at the Ridgewood Art Institute starting in 12 days!
I'm always reticent about new technology, but my new phone has a camera on it that is really amazing. I've been taking better pictures of my work and trying to replace old photos on my website of work that I still have access to. The trouble is that I don't own most of the paintings that I've done.
Of course, the best thing is to always view fine art in person, which is why I'm constantly frustrated with the inundation of photos in our modern world. My website is a documentation of my own work and not designed to be a replacement for seeing my work in person. But I'm also not going to bury my head in the sand and pretend that websites, cameras and technology doesn't exist.
I just started a new Self Portrait for this Summer which I think I can finish in about 3-5 days. I'm really excited about starting it! I abandoned the painting of my house because it just wasn't working, which is part of the process. I don't like to leave work unfinished and I'll only finish a work if it's a commission. But if it's a painting for myself, I don't mind abandoning it and learning what went wrong.
It's kind of like when I start reading a book that I might not enjoy. It's a tricky balance because I have to decide if I should push through it or is it a complete waste of time. I can't quantify my reasoning for abandoning a project, but if my gut tells me that it's going no where, then I'll start a new project. Never give up unless you know what to do next.
This self portrait is going really well so I'll be finishing this one for sure. I'll post some update shots of it on this blog and on my Instagram.