It takes many of us a lot of painting experience to begin to realize that good painting needs a clear concept of what we're trying to do. There are so many fundamental things about painting we need to understand and put into our work that it's easy to get lost and overwhelmed long the way. With consistent effort we move from plateau to plateau, and without a burning desire to "get there" we would surely give up. Too many disappointments and failures.
The thing that has helped me the most to keep on keeping on is the realization that all our technical skills begin to come together as we use them to express one clear idea. Excellent rendering ability alone won't do it. Learning the rules of perspective won't do it. Understanding how color works, and any number of other individual skills won't get us there. Composition and design remain arcane mysteries wrapped up in too many "do's and don'ts" until we begin to see what it is that drives the whole process.
So, what is it that puts us on the track of really enjoying making our own paintings? I'd say it's wrapped up in doing everything we can to emphasize one clearly seen and felt idea about our subject. Until then, we are spending our energy on external motivations and rules and frustrations. Trying to approximate the look of the paintings of artist's whose work we admire while wrestling with problems that in and of themselves can't assure successful paintings.
However, surprisingly, once we learn to clearly identify what one thing we're trying to emphasize about our chosen subject, the "what for" of whatever skills we have take on purpose and meaning in our efforts. The fun begins, and our power starts to grow. Our own work begins to interest us. Even our beginning, rudimentary efforts begin to produce interesting results when we know what we're trying to do. I want to say more about this in my following posts.
RUST & FADED PAINT
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
9x12 oil on canvas panel
subjective realist landscape paintings