I keep a folder of 8×10 and smaller incomplete sketches and carry it around with me. Many times they spark something and I will often paint over them. Over and over.
When I am feeling ambitious, I organize them according to category: women, women and the beach, women at a wine bar, women on cave walls, women in cave walls playing musical instruments. You get the picture.
I also print out photos of my paintings in progress. Sometimes I realize (too late) the best work should have been left alone.
Rethinking and painting over a work is something I do when I am second guessing what others might think. This is always wrong.
Yet many times, even I, at late middle age (I am an optimist), paint with someone looking over my shoulder – metaphorically speaking. Like my husband suggesting, “It needs more red.” Or perhaps a friend commenting, “What’s that curvy line all about?” But I’m just considering what they may remark.
Then I look at art painted by others that works for me. I know I could critique the heck out them, but my corrections would only make the spark disappear.
The answer is to paint until I feel that any more intellectual effort will deaden it and then stop. Then check back a few days later and any real problems will shout at me. But if I still like the painting, I will leave it alone. Art (unless you were hired to do something specifically) is for you and not the world.
Once in a blue moon, I haul out some art books to try to understand color better. You know. Fill in the blanks of info I never learned. because I did not go to art school.
squared infinity (just joking) and it all looks so mathematical.
I look at the paintings shown as examples and frankly most are so boring. Maybe I am just too critical, but it seems to me once you have painted for years, you should have some intuitive feeling about what clicks for you.
One story sticks with me…
The widow of a famous painter (whose colors were incredible) was asked what color theory he used. She responded that he did not have one. He just kept painting until it felt right. Bingo!
So after several hours of painting color sketches using the books’ suggested pigment combinations I put it all away. They sucked.
No real lesson here. Just a nudge to fellow artists who struggle with color to just persist.
(Love that -just persist- SHE PERSISTED – might make me a t-shirt)