Becoming a Better Artist

Being an Artist…….

Today I read something about work ethic that I think really applies to what I am doing as an artist. It was about Jerry Sienfeld. Sienfeld took a calendar and marked a red X each day he did some writing. Writing jokes was his job. He said the X on the calendar became a chain and that chain must not be broken. This habit he attributes to his success. I would say making 300 million is one year is pretty successful. The more he did it, the more he observed other things and the better his skills.

The point is the chain and observation. He found it easier to write if he did it every day.   I find it easier to paint if I do it every day.   The other thing is change. As I am painting and trying new things, my techniques and the way I present a painting is changing. I have said this many times. To learn to paint a beautiful rose, you must paint water and landscapes. You “see” them different but they don’t have to be.

Art is about brush movements. I study clouds here in Nebraska. It changed the way I painted roses. It changed the way I paint birds last year.   I wrote of the best bird books I feel I have done when I came here and studied the wind blowing over the short grass prairie. It changed the way I paint water. The more things you study, the better at observation you are. Observation is the key to being an artist.   I may discover while painting clouds a new technique that I can use on roses to give new looks. I may discover while painting a rose a great way to create an illusion in a landscape. It is about observation and that is a skill you must refine. You refine it by forcing yourself to “see” other things and by doing it every day.

Tomorrow, I will paint different. I will create some new ways to capture an image. I will create new brushwork because I am studying different things that change me and I am routinely doing this everyday to refine my skills. My goal is to paint different and advance my skills.

In the photo above, you can see the transparency. It is an illusion. The illusion can be used in one way on a rose and another way on water. Many times I will use different techniques to create this illusion form direct painting, negative painting to back painting.   I practice these everyday so my observational skills increase and so does my brushwork.

This week I was painting prairie grass, writing a seascapes book and this morning I painted a new look to roses that I really love. I mean really love! What changed me….. trying to capture prairie grass completely changed the way I see roses. Undertones are so important to the grasses in the prairie, so I tried it on the roses…WOW.. Amazing. Now I knew about undertones since studying the Dutch techniques, but I really never saw them in this way until I tried to capture the short grass in the wind. Time for another book… 🙂

Painting everyday increases my observational skills. So does painting different things. I am going to get a calendar and mark an X each day I paint something. Anything.   That is my goal. To make an unbroken chain and see where it leads me. Have a great painting day!

Leave a Reply