Blind Hog

Both the above 8x10 inches
oil on canvas panel
"Lobos Wash"
Oil on canvas panel
12 x 16"

It is said that “even a blind hog can find an acorn once in a while.”   Well, dear reader, there are times when I do, indeed, feel like that proverbial porker.

It is also said that for a painter to reach the place where one’s intention comes to the canvas with ease (painting skill), all one needs to do is to record “brush mileage.”   That is to say, paint a lot, paint every day if you can,  but just paint. 

That is the key:   Just paint.  No matter the outcome, just pick up the brush and paint.   Wear out the brushes.   Waste canvas or paper.  Give up the worry and enjoy the process, but paint.

Seems simple enough, right? 

A few years ago, I took up oil painting . . . .and established this blog as a means of accountability to paint daily.   Since then it has gone to the shelf for many months while I returned to watercolor to hone my skills there.   Now, I have reached a place where am doing both . . . .switch hitting, as sports fans like to say.

In the last six weeks, or so, Scott, Butch and I have been to some exciting and beautiful places to record our passion en plein air.  (In fact, the Annual National Plein Air Painting Convention is going to be held right on our stomping grounds, in Monterey, California in the first part of April.)   Some weeks, weather and work permitting, we manage to get out two or three times to paint.   Yesterday was such a day for me.    I drove for 30 minutes, hiked into a place (with a new back pack, incidentally) set up, painted for about 2 hours, packed up, hiked out and went to another painting site to accomplish two paintings for the day.  

I can’t imagine a pastime more soothing and yet offering artistic growth.    Sometimes lousy paintings come out of the effort . . . .and hard lessons learned, too!   Other times, the day is worth the effort, but with lackluster results.

I believe my skills are getting to the point where more decent paintings are coming out.  But, there is that ever changing standard of excellence in my mind.   What I can do today, I couldn’t do a few years ago.   My standards of achievement have changed, though.   And, at a semi advanced age, I realize that it isn’t the quality of the paintings that matters.   It’s the process.   The joy.  The enthused excitement of another chance at it.   The trying of new tricks.  Experimenting with different brushes and pigments.  And, yes, the shopping for new equipment.  

There is so much enjoyment in going out with a couple of buddies to paint every week and doing so week after week after week.    The paintings pile up, friendships develop, and . . . . . .now and then, a good painting shows up.   

Like I said, “even a blind hog can find an acorn once in a while.”

Paint on !!