Wednesday, August 16, 2006
acrylic on panel
Let’s Talk About Risks
I take a lot of risks in my work. I am willing to try things I know nothing about. I like to study a subject that I don’t like for about a year. The reason I don’t like it is because I can’t really paint it very well. I have avoided it because I feel inadequate to “pull it off successfully”. Forcing myself to paint it badly for awhile gives me the time I need to study and learn.
Why must we be afraid to paint badly? I do hundreds of paintings each year, some of them are very good but many are mediocre or just plain bad!! I have learned something from those bad paintings so I haven’t really lost anything by doing them.
I believe we all go through plateaus and growth in our work. If you are painting well all of the time and turning out good work every time, perhaps it is time to stretch yourself a bit. Move out of your favorite medium or subject matter for a bit of study. You will be surprised to find that your old comfort work will improve too.
It is too easy to be comfortable. We worry far too much about other artists who may be more successful or talented than we are. We are afraid to look bad in front of them. We will be far more satisfied if we concentrate on learning and growing, rather than worrying about what others are doing.
Have confidence in your own ability and paint at your best skill level each time. I try not to worry about whether someone else is better than me because I know there are better painters. That won’t stop me from improving every year and working all the harder.