Monday, September 3, 2012

My Bad Painting Habits

Do you have bad painting habits? I have many, but I'm beginning to delete them one at a time. I thought I'd just sit down and make a list of them because there's something about fessing up and seeing things in black and white that makes them more tangible. I'm hoping it will help me get rid of them. So, here they are.

  • not cleaning my brush often enough as I work - almost overcome
  • taking paint from the middle of the pile instead of at the end - getting better
  • not putting out enough paint - getting better
  • not replacing a pile that's used up - being LAZY remember that sluggard post? - still bad
  • haphazard arrangement of paint on my palette - OVERCOMER!
  • not wearing gloves
  • wanting to change a finished painting, from the season it was painted in, because we are in a new season - hard to resist
  • overworking a painting - don't we all?
  • mindless painting - almost overcome
  • not taking time to do notans - still disciplining myself to do this

This is my current list. As you can see, I'm at different places with different bad habits. The good news is, I have developed some good ones along the way. As the list shows, I've learned to organize my palette the same way every time. I don't have to hunt for a color and I have plenty of mixing space.

I've also learned to have my equipment ready the night before if I'm going out to paint in the morning. I don't know how many times I've arrived to begin setting up only to find I've forgotten something. Most often it's trash bags, paper towels or new solvent. Replenishing supplies at least the night before is a good idea. It would be even better to replenish them right after I get home.

I think my very worst habit is not taking the 10 seconds to replenish a depleted pile of tube paint. Ugh! I am getting better at this one, but sometimes my laziness is ridiculous. It leads to so much trouble in the painting. I end up trying to get by with what I have on my palette and it begins to look dirty on the painting and on and on. Sometimes I've ended up ruining a perfectly good painting by this bad habit.

Early on in my painting, I thought it was crazy to think of cleaning my brush so often - like wiping it after each stroke. How could a person manage that? But, I've found that it's become an unconscious habit. I wasn't even aware I was doing it until another artist watching me commented on it. I was secretly happy to know I was being so careful.

Evening Pines
 I guess my hardest-to-overcome bad habit is the overworking of a painting. How many of us struggle with this one? I think - maybe - the one-stroke-one-color, take-a-look-from-a-few-feet-away to plan your next stroke - might be my only salvation from this fate. Theoretically if I learn to practice that method, I at least won't mindlessly continue on past the point of peak impact.

Speaking of mindlessly going on, mindless painting is one of the things I've almost overcome. It's that thing I do when I'm carried away by something else besides the original intent for the painting. It happens a lot if I'm within earshot of other artists who are painting and talking or just talking. I've learned its best to paint quietly or alone. Maybe that's why my color theory teacher wouldn't allow talking or any music with lyrics to be played in class.

Putting a painting out of sight for awhile is a good way for me to resist changing the season. My worst is wanting to make a spring painting into a summer painting. Doesn't work.

And wearing gloves is an issue of a different kind, but important to me.  I've discovered it's important to take whatever measures I need to in order to make it easier to keep painting.

What bad habits do you share with me? What are your unique bad habits you're overcoming?


1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I share many of these with you, Ginny. Wasn't even aware of it until I read your list. Not cleaning the brush often enough is a big one, and overworking the painting would take a close second. I would love to be able to let the color do the work more than the brushstroke, and have so much to learn in that area. And the music without words idea? Priceless. :)

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