So I was working on a commission today and really doing battle with it and it all became so clear to me. I've been looking for ways to make painting easier and I've realized that it's NOT easy and it never will be.
I was working on this commission and really struggling. I haven't done a pet commission in a bit and it seemed extra difficult. I kept pushing and sweating and it finally turned a corner and looks good to me. It's like the magic of a painting is buried somewhere in a pile of hard work and that's a hard thing to accept; I think the media in our society is always telling us ways to do something more efficiently and faster ("one weird trick!"), but that doesn't apply to the craft of painting.
I'm very hard on myself and I demand perfection out of my work. I don't mind walking through hell to get the painting done.
A list of a few principles of art that I want to remember for the future:
-Painting and drawing: Broad to narrow, big picture to detail
-Presence in the moment of creation
-Don't worry too much about technique
-Just draw or paint and enjoy
-Do my best
-It's difficult sometimes but that's okay
-Let the painting tell me what should be thickly painted and what should be thinly painted.
-Be myself and keep practicing <3
I think I'm about done with this current commission and I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I'm going to look over it one last time, but I'm happy with the way it looks. I was really inspired by Velazquez for this portrait and worked mostly wet-in-wet to finish it part by part.
I've been developing my recent alla prima painting ideas and I'm toying with the idea of writing a short ebook. This is a new idea, but it's something that I would love to do. As readers of my blog will know, I'm a huge fan of John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla and the original godfather of it all, Diego Velazquez. I was fortunate to travel to Madrid last year where I absorbed a lot of information about these amazing painters. For the book, I would inject a lot of my own ideas, but it would also contain a lot of information about alla prima painters of the past.
Have a great weekend everyone!
First thing I want to start off with is that I had a super transformative weekend that I will share more information about very soon! It really requires its own blog post so stay tuned for that.
With all these good feelings, I started day 1 of painting a portrait commission, which is quite a portrait to undertake. It's a portrait of 4 very regal looking dogs which is the most dogs I've painted in a single painting; I sort of feel like I'm painting The Night Watch of dogs haha. (Of course I'm joking with that). So I've spent some solid time planning it out and sketching it and I feel very good about its beginning.
I've always felt that the painters I admire the most were the most direct painters. There's no "magic" or smoke and mirrors of technique to rely on. It's just straight there, nothing else. Maybe I've reached this point because I have indeed tried many layered techniques of painting. But the problem always was that I felt like I was paying more attention to the technique than the subject matter.
The technique is merely a way to convey your image and, for me, I want the viewer to feel the direct presence and realism of these dogs or whatever I'm painting. I know there's an infinite number of paths to take which can make it confusing, but I think the best way to paint is just be completely in the moment and almost listen for guidance. Think of the guidance coming from something beyond yourself. Listen for the muse.
Have great week everyone.