I'm looking through my plein air work for four entries to send to this year's Plein Air Southwest Salon. This is my small plein air study done for a larger painting that sold earlier this year. Seems like when I have to look back at my paintings for something that I feel would make a good entry, everything looks inadequate. After a good number of years painting, I understand this feeling. If you're continually painting and trying to improve, what was previously acceptable to us may appear sadly lacking in retrospect. A lot of painters go through periodic episodes of thinking, "What ever made me think I could paint?". It usually happens at the end of a cycle of focused work on improving weaknesses in what we do. The focused effort eventually produces growth and positive results.
Sometimes we refer to this "breakthrough" as moving up to a new plateau. We can see, and understand things we previously over-looked or that frustrated us. There's always the next "plateau", and the struggle to overcome weaknesses we are painfully aware of. What we see in our mind is always ahead of what we see on our canvas, and there's always the next bridge to cross. For this reason, selecting paintings to enter in an up-coming exhibit or competition can at times be frustrating. It's good to remember that we painters are a work in progress, and our past work doesn't define our future success. Painting requires doing a lot of "bad" paintings in order to get closer to where we want to go. Continually clarifying for ourselves what we're trying to do and where we want to go is what builds the bridges.
©Jimmy Longacre 2015
8x10 oil on canvas panel
subjective realist landscape paintings