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Monday, May 23, 2011

The joy of scales

"One Compelling Note"
Original oil - 6x6"
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Just got home from teaching a couple of workshops on Vancouver Island. In working with 30 students over 6 days, I was reminded of our reluctance to spend our painting time on work that is not leading to a "finished product" - something tangible to show for our time. Coupled with this is the idea that painting is supposed to be fun. Always and only fun.

I find whenever I propose the idea that serious painting requires determined, intensely focused, incredibly challenging hard work, a minority of heads in the room nod in agreement, while most folks start tensing up.

When we are presented with an exercise (or several) that forces us out of our comfort zone, our natural inclination is to run, fast and far. We like to move away from awkwardness, from "looking bad", from anything that has the potential for "failure" built in to it.

The key is to notice that feeling and dive head first into the discomfort, in service of our growth - of moving toward our full potential as artists. We can only get there by breaking this enormously difficult undertaking into its individual parts (drawing, design, shape, value, color, and medium specific technique) and honing each one, so that our wholes become an expression of all that we are capable of.

12 comments:

  1. Wow, this one is a beauty! LOVE the palette.

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  2. Amen to that. And that is a very nice finished product!

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  3. You stated perfectly the real work of an artist. I love this rose, it's palette and sensibility are beautiful!

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  4. This rose is painted so beautifully. I follow you every day and have a notebook containing all your lessons and words of wisdom.

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  5. Well said! This painting is so striking and beautiful; love it!

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  6. Nice painting. Agree on the hard work business. SO true... and worth the effort.

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  7. Great post and lovely painting!

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  8. You're so right about the hard work, being open to challenges and discomfort! It's so worth it. What an intense time of teaching you had. The minority that nodded in agreement got a lot out of your workshops!

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  9. You are so right. Your post really makes me think. I will try more outside of my comfort zone.

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  10. And a beautiful result. Scales are important.

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