I was taking pictures for an illustration (of a field, I think) when I went back and shot this sunset--but I can't even remember where or when.
“Painting from life is often no better than painting from photographs when it comes to improving color skills... The answers... are on the canvas, not in nature. We are not copying nature. We are putting what we know about painting on the canvas. Nature is only a starting point. The finishing point, the most important point, the point that determines the final disposition of the canvas...is...someplace in you...”
As a realistic illustrator, I have always needed good reference to think I could adequately paint anything. These words from Hatfield’s blog—in 2010—finally clicked (better late than never) and gave me the “permission” I needed to use a couple of small, not-great photos as my only reference for the last couple of 24x24” paintings. The
Monterey hills piece
was more successful, but this realization has begun to change my whole approach.
For the past three years, largely due to external events, I have painted in fits and starts--at times nearly paralyzed and ready to give up entirely, at others resolved--always apologetic for not improving faster and producing more. I have imposed motivation and deadlines by blogging, entering contests, joining studio tours, and showing at various events, online, and in a gallery. While this has produced 100 paintings, give or take, many of which have sold, it has not always produced the works I want.
Last week, Hatfield unexpectedly provided the necessary push. As he reports Bongart telling him three decades ago, “Just paint.” Don’t be distracted by shows, galleries, contests, teaching, or anything else involving ego; get into the paint, do 100 paintings, then call me. What a concept—what an invitation!
So soon, May to be exact, it all stops (or at least most of it)—and hopefully starts. I suppose that technically should include blogging; but we’ll see.