IMPROVE YOUR ART RAPIDLY BY PAINTING EVERY DAY!
Have you ever heard an artist or art teacher say that? Well if you want to rapidly improve in your skill level that is exactly what you should do! Now many who paint are not fast and I'm not saying that you should be fast. Perhaps it would be better to say spend at least one hour per day painting!
That hour will go by very quickly, and if you are like me you will lose track of time entirely while you paint. I have actually had to set the alarm on my phone to tell me when to stop, especially if I need to be somewhere at a given time.
I love to paint, I find it both relaxing and absorbing. My husband laughingly tells me as I go into my art room, "You'll surface eventually I presume?" "Yes, eventually!" I reply. We moved his computer setup into the room so we could see each other now and then! I pat him on the shoulder as I pass by on my way to the sink to refresh my water tub.
It is recommended for any artist who wants to succeed to paint daily and become prolific in producing artwork. I have read that galleries was to see an artist produce at least 50 paintings per year. Not all do that. When I first read that I thought, Wow, that's a lot of paintings! I also started keeping an inventory sheet as we are told to do. That was two years ago. The other day I counted how many paintings I had produced during that time. I was shocked to see that I had created over 250 paintings! And that doesn't count the myriad of mini 4 x 4 paintings I sell in the tourist trade. I don't count those because they are all very simple and similar in look. I do sign them and provide a small easel with each one. They sell for $18 each of which I get $9. Not bad, as I average 8 - 10 per month sold. I helps pay for my art supplies.
After my foot surgery, I couldn't paint for a month. When I started up again, I worked on these minis to loosen up and get back into the groove. It was the perfect thing to do and before I had many done I was itching to work on a larger painting. I am still recuperating (it will take a year to get back to normal) and not able to do regular activities yet, so painting keeps me occupied. As a result I have produced about 15 paintings in one month. These are not large paintings, they average 11 x 14 in size. I have actually worked on two paintings at once, allowing time for one to dry as I work on the other. My husband thinks I'm crazy at times, but it works for me!
I am "making hay while the sun shines", an old expression for getting work done while I can. In August I must start teaching again so I am trying to get paintings finished for the Kentucky art show in Sept. Once school starts, I won't have as much free time. I have mentioned that these paintings are mostly nostalgic paintings. It brings back a lot of memories so they are especially pleasant for me to paint.
Interestingly, we are told that people can feel when you have put your heart into a painting, and as a result they sell quickly. If that is true then it explains why these have been so popular. For example, my painting "GRANDPA'S GARAGE" is literally very similar to the garage my grandpa had on his farm. He kept all his farm tools and mechanic tools in there. His way of sharpening blades for his horse-drawn farm equipment and all his tools was an old hand cranked stone wheel. I always wanted to turn it for him as a little girl because I loved watching the sparks fly when he held each blade to the spinning stone. Now they are powered by electricity and the sparks still fly! I know I am dating myself here, but there is a lot to be said for the "old ways". There was time to talk, to really get to know one another, and I loved it.
Ok, back to the subject of painting daily. As you may have guessed, my skills improved rapidly with daily painting. My problem according to one of my mentors, was that I was painting too fast! She said I needed to slow down and analyze my work instead of just rushing ahead to get done. Ok, so I slowed down. I also set a painting aside as I near the finish and look at it for a few days and invariably I see something that needs to be refined or even changed altogether so as to make it better.
That being said, some people just paint faster than others. I have heard of artists who take months to complete one painting and others who produce a complete painting per day. It all depends on the subject they are painting, their attitude, their skill level, even their working environment. So for me to say I painted 250 paintings doesn't necessarily mean much. I try to keep my subjects simple. I just don't like painting every leaf on a tree, or a highly detailed street scene, etc. That is not my cup of tea as they say. What I do is suggest detail as an impressionist might do rather than actually draw each stroke of the detail. I am not a hyper realist, nor do I ever want to be. What I DO want is to always keep improving in my artistic skills. So I will continue to paint every day as long as I am able to do so.
Below is the closeup of the inside of a garage from one of my paintings. You will see what I mean when I say I suggest detail instead of painting each stroke of the detail. I want to allow the eye of the viewer to complete the detail. That, in my opinion is the artist's duty.