I am sitting in my chair this morning after a long rewarding but frustrating week of painting. Soon I will head to my studio and have a go at it again.
Earlier this week, I was standing at my easel wanting to cuss and slash my canvas as I was working on a commission (which is not my favorite thing to do). I was struggling with getting the painting to my standards. My hand just could not do what my eye was seeing. I finished that painting to start another painting and the same thing happened. I scraped 3 times finally finishing a painting to some satisfactory level, although not completely satisfied. I had a goal in mind.
That seems to be a battle for many artists both profient and not so proficient. We may have an intention of what we want to accomplish in our paintings but do not know how to get there or we know how to get there and our hand does not follow our mind. There are books you can read, formulas you can memorize, classes you can take but at the end of the day, the only way to achieve my goals as a painter (including the academics-drawing, color therory, shape quality, paint quality) is to paint, scrape, paint, and then scrape again and keep trying to get it right. This is all in hopes that there will be weeks when there is less scraping and results are realized.
What I want I cannot have without more years of "brush miles" and experience. I continue to focus on the academics of painting, connecting with my subject and create feeling in a painting, understanding the quality of light and how that affects my subjects in my painting-but I still need time and more experience to get to where I want to go. Painting from what I see rather than what I know and getting it down on canvas is a learned process that only gets better with time.
Richard Schmid is a master at painting. He has a great academic background, and superb talent, but the time of painting for the last 50 years and painting much of his efforts from life has helped him achieve a level of painting I long for in my work. I highly recommend his book, Alla Prima, if you are a struggling artist like myself who has high goals for your painting. http://www.richardschmid.com/book.html
Taking risks in your painting, learning from mistakes and getting more clear about what makes a good painting coupled with time and consistent effort is, in my humble opinion, are some of the keys to successful painting. It does not happen overnight. Time has to be involved. Eventually I will come to accept that:)
Off to the studio!