Almost got blown away by the wind today, but I managed to finish this 10" X 14" watercolor, Just Passing Through.... The title has a double meaning referring to the geese passing through the scene and also to the fact that this is a cemetery and we're all just passing through life.
Lately, I've been focusing on some basic painting principles. I'm realizing that legibility in a painting is really crucial. The ability to read what is going on and to simplify elements when necessary is what I am focusing on. A beautiful painting doesn't need to be filled with details because it needs to work as a whole first; this is why a great painting looks good even as a thumbnail sized image.
There's always so much to juggle in a painting (especially en plein air): drawing, composition, values, colors, brushwork. I feel like simplifying those elements is the highest order. There's a lot that I'm learning recently about my mindset also. To keep calm and have the painting under control is really important. These are all things that I'm continually working on.
I've recently been feeling stuck with my painting and it's made me feel really down about my own abilities. I think these "slumps" are a natural part of any creative process, but they can be intensely frustrating. The tricky part is to try and figure out what's not working and how to rectify the problem.
Although I've been feeling frustrated, I kept painting and today, I broke my slump and did a painting that I'm very proud of. The rush of doing a good painting is really an incomparable feeling. For anyone who's going through a rough patch, remember that not every painting will be a winner, but you can gain a lot by learning how not to paint.