I'm excited to be starting a new book tonight all about the materials and techniques of artists. I recently read The Painter in Oil (1897) by Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst and this is a similar book. The Painter in Oil was fantastic and very informative; I think I learned more from reading that book than my entire time in art school. I'll write of review of this Doerner book once I'm finished with it.
Anyone who's interested in this information about traditional painting should go check out Natural Pigments because they have all the old school materials and a ton of information on their site. I'm a brand ambassador for them, but I would recommend their products even if I weren't affiliated with them.
I'm so excited to announce that one of my classes at Pushing Colored Dirt begins tonight at 7PM. Our classes are online and are taught via Zoom. My class tonight is Watercolor for Beginners, but I'm also teaching Pet Portraits for Beginners which begins this Friday, July 31st and you can still sign up for it.
Also, you guys should sign up for our PCD newsletter. I'll be sending out news, information about classes, some cool art history facts, quotes and general advice about art making. You can sign up by visiting our PCD homepage and scrolling down to subscribe.
I know I haven't written on this personal blog in a while, but I did write a long blog post over at PCD that you should check out. I wrote it about inspiration, influences and idol worship. If you ever feel lost as an artist (or person in general) give it a read and I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Have a wonderful week everyone, much love.
Some things I've been thinking about recently: It's hitting me really hard recently how important it is for me to paint and draw from life and create work just for me. It's probably the most important thing for me to do. The other thing I've been thinking a lot about recently is focusing intensely on my teaching. I was just given an incredible teaching opportunity and I want to do the best possible job I can. I don't want any extraneous things and I need some things to be just for me.
I'm also reading some books (The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle and Power Vs. Force by Dr. David R. Hawkins) that are making me think about my own perceptions. It's all just stuff that I'm going through and I need to do it on my own and with those I love and who love me. I feel at a crucial point in my journey. I'll always be sharing some thoughts on this blog but I'll mostly be focusing on myself.
I was reading in bed last night and got up to jot down an idea I had about the similarities between reading, writing and painting. All three of these disciplines require concentration and most importantly practice. They all have differences, but can be very similar in their ability to transport the writer, reader or artist into a flow state on non-thinking.
I've been thinking a lot (as always) about painting and the fact that painting isn't about slapping paint around and expecting a beautiful result, it requires concentration, patience and a deliberate touch. In the same way that you can't read a book by running your eyes along a page, you have to be present and read each word.
As I said, it takes a lot of practice and I don't think it's something that you can develop quickly. I started developing myself into a reader early in college because I saw how much I was missing out by not reading. I used to read a lot when I was a kid and I always did the required reading in high school, but I wanted to really become a "reader".
I started off with this grand ambition of reading Moby Dick (unabridged) which of course is like trying to bench press 225 lb. your first time in the gym. Or maybe like trying to write a huge novel as your first piece of writing. In painting, it's like trying to paint a full length portrait if you're just starting out. You need to start small and build up the muscles.
So I started out with smaller books and worked my way up to longer, more complex, ones-- my favorite of which is IQ84 by Haruki Murakami, which is just under 1000 pages and took me 6 months to read. I'm not a fast reader, but I read consistently and make deliberate progress.
I hope this comparison sheds some light on different ways to think about art and how it's never easy (nor should it be).