Thursday, December 8, 2016

Waiting Till You’re Good Enough

I started oil painting with my dad maybe 20 years ago, it was a fun activity to do together, and he was my instructor, teaching me about oil painting, mixing color, composition, brush strokes, etc. You think I’d be really good by now, but because for the first 18 years I only painted a few times a month at best, and once every 6 months at worst, I wasn’t really improving.

A few years ago, we did a plein air painting event in Cle Elum, in fact we did it for 3 years in a row.  I actually entered a few paintings in their show at the end.  It was scary, because I didn’t think I was very good, at least not good enough to enter a painting. But, my dad convinced me to enter them, and one year one of my paintings got an award. It gave me a little more confidence.

Then, we attended two of the Plein Air Magazine Conventions where you had the opportunity to watch amazing established artists paint and teach how they approach painting in the studio and plein air. I loved to watch them, just like I loved watching my dad. I started noticing that they all had different approaches, but still had beautiful results. At the first convention, I mostly watched other’s paint. At the 2nd convention, I went out to paint, but got so overwhelmed. So, I packed up my paints and walked around watching other artists. When I got to Thomas Jefferson Kitts, he asked if I was having fun, I said that actually I was overwhelmed and didn’t feel like I was good enough to paint here!  He told me not to look at it that way, just look at it as FUN! If it’s not fun, why do it? I liked that, and I continue to hear him say that in my head, even now.

I decided to take some classes from art instructors. I took 2 from an artist close to me, Michele Usibelli. I love her style, and the color she put in her paintings. I was so insecure, and I was sure I was way out of my league taking classes from her. But, she was so encouraging, and generous with her knowledge, I felt more at ease, and I learned a lot from her.

After that, I decided to paint regularly, at least 4 times a week. I did that for a while, practicing what I learned. I painted with dad off and on too. But, life got in the way, and I slacked off, and my improvement stalled.

I learned from Michele and others that you have to paint at least 500 paintings before you start getting really good. So, at the beginning of this year I made two decisions, I would paint at least 5 days a week, and I would start sharing my paintings online.  The sharing part was hard, but because I did, I actually sold 2 of them!

I was listening to someone who said that art is NOT our baby! As artists, we love to create, so the process of conceiving an idea, composing the painting, and the actual painting of the piece is what we are here for. After the painting is done, we should let it go and move on to the next creation. Think of it like sky diving, you don’t do it because of the landing! You do it because you love the anticipation and the actual action of skydiving! (No, I don’t skydive, and never will!)

They also said you don’t need to wait until you think you’re good enough, because you never will. You create, that’s your job, and you let other’s decide whether they like it or don’t, that’s their job.

Whether someone likes it or not is NOT why you do it, you do it because you are an artist, and you need to create! That IS the reason! So, create, enjoy, have fun, put it out there, and let it go. Then do it all over again!
By the way, you can see my art progress on my Juliart FB page 

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