Monday, May 23, 2011
The joy of scales
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.