In my last blog post, I mentioned that I am trying to do a quick, small painting every day for 30 days. It’s for an online course I’m taking courtesy of the master of daily painting, Duane Keiser. I’ve had to miss a few days, but for the most part, I’m doing it!
I’ve also been listening to some artist podcasts which have been very motivating. One of them is Nicholas Wilton’s Art2Life podcast and the other is The Savvy Painter podcast hosted by Antrese Wood. Their styles are quite different, in how they present information and how they paint, but they often reinforce each other’s messages. For instance, if you’re serious about wanting to get better at your art, they both say you have to commit to a consistent practice. Even if you can only manage 10 minutes a day, make it happen. If you keep putting it off until you have more time, you may never have enough, and you certainly won’t become a stronger artist.
I noticed a distinct difference when I didn’t do my daily paintings for a few days. Every day I do one, I feel like I’ve accomplished something important. Each little painting builds on the one before it, and I find my confidence building. I felt discouraged on the days I missed and began to doubt my abilities.
I’m back on track again, but not in my own studio, and with a few challenges to test my resolve. I’m spending the week at my daughter and son-in-law’s in VT and brought my painting supplies so I could keep up with the daily paintings. My challenges are space and time to paint.
I set up a makeshift studio in the basement smack dab in the middle of toy storage space. At least there’s good light. During the day. If nighttime comes and I haven’t found time to paint (usually the case), I set up a smaller easel on the dining room table.
I had to leave my three cats at home, but I don’t lack for muses here. My granddaughters wake me up at the crack of dawn every morning!
Like their Nana, they also like to create art. I had fun teaching my youngest granddaughter about mixing colors — red and white make pink. Add a little green and you get a slightly darker shade, more makes brown. She also played with applying a big glob of paint with a palette knife. That was fun! So was pressing the end of her paintbrush onto her canvas. She was pretty proud of her work. She just needs to sign it and we’ll put it in a frame. She’s already decided where she wants to hang her beautiful painting.
As for my work, I don’t have a lot of time, usually about an hour at night. I tend to get mired in details but admire artists with a looser style. Having a short window of time at the end of the day when I’m tired is perfect for trying to capture what I see as essential information, rather than focusing on details. I still have to make a lot of decisions but I have been making them more quickly and trusting myself more instead of second-guessing.
My subject matter this week is whatever happens to be nearby. And in the spirit of my granddaughters, I’m simply playing around and having fun. When each little painting is done, it’s done. No going back to fix things the next day, but learning, learning, learning. That’s the point.
In addition to writing about my own practice, I’m also going to profile other late-start artists. I already have a few people who have agreed to be interviewed. Send me an email if you’re finally pursuing a creative passion and would like to share your story and your work. We can all inspire each other!