My painting plan devised yesterday worked like a charm. It may be second nature for most artists to have a clear direction before they put brush to canvas or pencil to paper and maybe I have even mentioned something like this before, but I feel it is worth stating again, if only to remind myself. Besides, repetition is a direct path to memorization.
I went through my plan checklist on my last post which organized my thoughts about my subject and dispelled any anxious thoughts about needing to accomplish a good painting. More than anything the review was a bit meditative and provided clarity of purpose.
I worked methodically on each stage of the small painting. Even in the drawing phase, as see below, I was working hard to render the subject accurately even though I knew that all of the careful drawing would be covered by paint.
At this point I was also thinking about composition. I erased this drawing twice before I ended up with a placement of the lamp that I liked. I think it took me almost an hour to just do the drawing. But the plan and clear direction I had at the start made me comfortable with not even finishing this work, as long as each stage was well done.
The Painting Setup
My painting setup was less that ideal. The room was dark because I had to close the curtains to cut out much of the ambient sunlight coming through the window and I didn’t have any direct light on my painting as I worked. Regardless, I was able to soldier on and work through the dimness.
Later in the painting, after about two hours of working I found my focus began to drift and I started to hurry through. There was a bit of excitement here to get the painting done, I was close to the finish line and I knew that it was going well. I guess I wanted to hurry to the end and collect my prize of a well don painting. So I had to force myself to read a quote by Richard Schmid.
Stroke per stroke, suppress the urge to speed up… Getting things right is always more important than finishing a painting.
That being said I could have done better with the rendering of the curtains, maybe if I had taken more breaks during the painting. It never hurts to pause for a bit and come back to the work with fresh eyes.
The Painting Subject
Is Having a Clear Direction Before Painting Enough?
I sometimes get the feeling that my subject is too mundane. Heck, most of what I paint and draw is mundane, and in most cases I flaunt this quality. But there is always this fear that creeps in of what the public will think. I envision people saying “It’s just a lamp” or “It’s just a paper ball”…
Is a painting not worth pondering if it’s devoid of grandiose subject matter? I don’t see how that could be true. There are many masterful and historically important works out there that consist of nothing more than detritus. What if the rest of my life I painted nothing but mundane objects? Would I be remembered? Does it matter?