Bumps along the way

What we (I) think is so fascinating in our painting journey and its creative process is the difference between beginning this creative endeavor, plein air oil painting, and other creative things that we have done in the past.  Take for example, knitting. When one  first learns to cast on and make a, oh, I don’t know, a square dish cloth, and the stitches are not even or the lines straight, no one said, “Uh, you really should not be a knitter.”  Or when we were first learning to cook, folks didn’t say, ” Ummm, cooking – really not your thing.”

It is different for some reason when you share a painting. I’m not sure if it is because of the museum type experience where art is to be critiqued  and judged at first glance either ” I like it or I don’t like it”, or if there is little leeway for “critics” to understand learning and improving as one goes on.

This has been my experience as a beginning painter, and one that I wasn’t really prepared for.  I think this is really important to understand if you take up oil painting.   Be prepared or prepare yourself for those words that could possibly temporarily derail  you in your oil painting journey.

We have found several things that work for us  to counteract the unintended or intended criticism of a beginning artist.   The first is laughter.   Really, really important.  Every time we go out,  Catherine and I usually have a good laugh at some aspect of our work:  either the easel falls over,   an aspect of the painting appears to be painted on by a deranged person ( how does that happen??) or  just  laughing at the pure joy of being able to be outside and believe that it is possible to capture some of the beauty around us.

Another technique that works for me is to find a painting buddy or another person who may not want to paint, but could go out and read, or knit! with you.   The camaraderie and collaboration with another is really important to keep the spirit of patience and practice alive.

And finally, always, always find something in your work, even if it is  2 inch square that you like and focus on that .

2 thoughts on “Bumps along the way

  1. What a great observation and attitude! See, you are becoming a “mad scientist” (artist)!! Keep it up…….

  2. Britt, There is something very humbling in the energy between an artist and the observer. We talk about this a lot, and you wrote about it in a way that is very honest. Your post is an “art critique” phenomenon. People have shared with me that early in their painting journey they were discouraged from practicing art by someone closely related to them, or by another artist! I had a dear friend, who recently passed, that painted and never shared her art with anyone, but she would encourage me to paint. Even though she had very poor eyesight, she would ask me to describe my paintings “in color”! Her enthusiasm during these conversations was a positive experience for me. I’m not saying constructive comments are a bad thing, but for a beginner, soften your eye, it could be the beginning of the end of their journey. Catherine

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