Watercolor 22 x 30 inches
There are, literally, thousands of
painters out there who desire to attain
excellence in their painting life.
Most all are missing something.
One would think that something
I say it is NOT
Skill comes with familiarity,
which is born of practice.
I dare say
there are a lot of painters out there who practice plenty, but excellence has
not crept up behind them and took up residence in their output.
I believe there is an aspect of mental attitude (this is that
), which must be ever
present in order to invite in excellence and have it stay in residence.
That aspect, to which I refer, is something
akin to an attitude of carelessness.
Did you say carelessness?
Let me explain . . . .one needs not care
That care less attitude
must also be present about the aspect of failure.
Do you know any painters who are nervous
Do you know any who are
concerned or even worried about what their peers might think of their
In fact, do you know any
painters who are “afraid of breaking the
These are mental barriers or obstructions to achieving fine
One must be willing to fail . . .
.and I mean OPENLY willing to go down in flames in front of anyone who might be
There are no books out there written by painting experts about
There aren’t any!!
At the very least, the painter must be
willing to turn his or her back on anything thought of as “rules.”
And there is another aspect of attitude that all painters
must eschew . . . . . . that is steering away from the unfamiliar subject.
We must be willing to take on any
subject at any time and risk falling
into that deep canyon of failure to ‘do it well.’
We are a sensitive bunch, us painters.
We fall for those sentimental scenes that
evoke loving emotions of comfort.
frequent galleries and museums to look upon the excellence achieved by others
and are often swept up in other artists’ techniques or design approaches.
We even admire those paintings that appear to
be vastly different than anything otherwise seen out there.
Yet, when confronted with painting the
unfamiliar, we veer away at a speed not often seen.
We openly avoid
the possibility of failure.
I must confess that I am no different in that respect.
I, too, experience the fear . . . those
pangs in the gut that warn of abject exposure that I might be a fraud.
I have it, too.
I have learned, however, that we must take on R I S K with a
lustful appetite for it.
risks is what bridges us across those chasms of skill and familiarity with
When we cross into
unfamiliar territory and come out of it having won, there is no greater rush of
emotion and feeling of accomplishment!
In some ways it is outright defeating the devil himself !
To be more brief, let me just say that it is the repeated
willingness to take risks that makes the great painters.
It is stepping into the unknown with brush
in hand and tackling the possibility of outright failure without looking over
our shoulder at the possibility of failure.
We must take what we know into the challenge and be open to discovery
that what we know may not be enough.
must be open to devising new techniques to allow us to swim through the rough
current of possible failure.
And own the
possibility that we can be swallowed up by our venture into the unknown.
In owning that possibility . . . .in being completely aware
that we don’t know enough to break into new levels of skill or excellence . . .
.it is in there that we learn the next step to attain that place we seek.
There are myths and metaphors out there, such as slaying the
dragon, that rightly apply to our struggles to become.
And “Becoming” is really what our search is
about . . .wouldn’t you agree?
On this day, I achieved a victory.
I entered a completely unfamiliar place to
paint a menagerie of dogs and people . . . .and to represent it as some sort of
social event to which debutants attend in their ‘coming out.’
I wasn’t at all sure I could.
I simply didn’t know
if I knew enough to make it come to life.
With limited resources, could I bring the idea to life and exploit some
ersatz design stuff to ensnare the viewer and, perhaps, bring a painting to
life that may be worthy of competition?
I didn’t know . . . . . . but I was willing to waste the paper and the
paint and the time to find out.
luck that this outcome materialized?
will let you be the judge.
But I feel a
sense of victory!!