I have long held the conviction that to gain a genuine insight into how we go about improving the quality of our paintings then we have to be prepared to put the time in and paint! – it’s as simple as that ! I have had many a long talk with friends (artist one’s) regarding this and I am always intrigued when some have such busy lives that they find it hard to put in time to just relax and paint (can those two words be connected??). I know currently it is difficult to have sales happening on a regular basis but instead of not producing much it’s a wonderful time to spend honing and refining our skills or even trying something new. As I am now part of the grey haired set I recently decided to look at the things that were clogging up my time and made a conscious decision to devote myself to becoming the best that I could be – whether I will achieve that who knows but……… I’ll give it a good try. So I now consider if I (a) want to do something that is asked of me, (b) if it is going to eat into the time I need to “do that painting” or (C) is it really important?? Having said that I know we have to produce an income to survive but by cutting out the unnecessary and committing to painting as often as we can with out becoming anti social, then we are on a winning streak. I discipline myself to paint most days or to at least prepare by drawing up, thinking of what colours etc will work best in that particular painting and so on and if time has got away from me as it does some days then drawing is such a lovely pastime that even 30 minutes spent with a pencil will put you ahead of those who only paint sporadically.
Our motivation to paint should be because we love it – and Richard Schmid in his wonderful book Alla Prima says this; which sums it up beautifully:
“If you want to be famous, get into politics, or crime or show business or sports. If you paint just to get rich, shame on you but if you paint because you must do it or die, then your are my kind of painter!! “
Wow – I know exactly how he feels .