Greetings. Spring still trying to get out here in sorta sunny Northland New Zealand. I guess I can't complain as it's still officially winter.
Lets chat today about consistency. I think every artist or craftsperson has to contend with doing consistently good work. Being able to do good work consistently is the foremost hallmark of the professional. That said, even professionals have great days and just good days.
So what do you do when the works not leaping off the brush unto the canvas? What can be done if anything to create good work when inspiration isn't carrying the day?
This is what I recommend doing:
- Keep painting. Don't stop and wait for inspiration. Just keep painting. Sure, many times you will produce a dud but even duds can be partially or completely repainted. Also becoming good at painting requires many hours of hands on practice. No amount of inspiration can replace this.
- Do prep work like, preparing boards, researching reference or sorting out your work space. Don't get too carried away though. Many times these types of activities become great ways of avoiding painting. So, do them in moderation.
- Rework sections of previous duds. This actually tends to create excitement for me as I don't have to construct an entire painting wholesale. I can just correct, adjust or clean up paintings that are laying around waiting for their time to shine. BTW todays featured painting "Summer Creek" is one of those rescued duds.
- Go outside and walk the dog. Or, if you really need a reset, take a vacation. Sometimes this is the best plan. To be honest though, I think just keeping on painting is almost always going to further your art more than these other occupations.
Too many of us were taught that artists should await inspiration before getting to work. When it's not showing up for us we assume that painting anyway is a bad idea. I hope today that I've disabused you of this false notion. Inspiration shows up when your working far more often than just coming as a bolt from the blue.
A bit more about "Summer Creek". The original idea for this painting had a big bunch of trees on the right. After painting the motif it became apparent that what I'd planned was a bad idea in that I had two competing points of interest between the two clumps of trees in the painting.
So I took it up again one day and started hacking away at those trees on the right. I ended up removing the lot and set it aside.
Later I thought the sky in it was boring and lacking interest so I painted in the current sky. That sky actually makes the painting and it functions as the focal point now. I'm pretty happy with this piece though I'm not sure if I'll paint it larger. There are times that I enjoy just letting these little reworked paintings stand on their own.