Tag Archives: sarlat en caneda

When is a painting finished.. and other musings

As I come to the end of a painting, this question always rears it’s ugly head: what else does it need?
The one after that I hate even more: couldn’t I have done a better job with this or that section? Is it a good painting? how good? My philosophy here is that I did the best I could do with what I have and who I am right now. I move on to another painting. This becomes very apparent to me when I look at work I did a few years back. It was the best I could do at the time. End of story.
You cannot ‘make’ a masterpiece. One day it may happen or it may never happen. It is a waste of time to think ‘this is it, this time I’ll do it’.
Doesn’t work.

Lack of decision and endless fiddling with the current painting is a harmful thing. You have to learn from the mistakes you can spot at the end and make amends, but the energy must go into a fresh effort! Learn to use your time wisely.

A word about talent: to any artist who has slaved over years to acquire his skills in painting, it is the most irritating thing to hear that your ability is just a ‘gift’. Talent is the first step, you have to have it. Absolutely. But nobody who paints amazing paintings has done so from day one. They put thousands of hours into it. There is no formula in art that will not break down as soon as the effort behind it ceases.
A good analogy is athletics: do you know how many hours pro figure skaters or tennis players practice every day? No need to answer that. Talent may help get you to the elite, I don’t dispute that. Even if I practiced tennis 8 hours a day from now on, I would never play like Roger Federer. I know that, I just don’t have enough talent.
But to say as artists we just have ‘this gift’ is ignoring how much work we’ve put into it.

Of course nowadays there are many who put more effort into their social media page instead of their art, but that’s another blog post. Or not.

The Aquitaine region of France

Alliac, impressions Alliac, impressions 2

I am currently painting along the Dordogne river in the beautiful Aquitaine region of France. Life is good! This trip was full of adventures for me! The worst was probably the weather this time around. Europe is experiencing floodings and overall one of the wettest spring times in 25 years! Very fitting that I had to pick this exact time to come for painting! What can you do?

I made the best of it and produced about 25 plein air pieces so far. I am sure glad I brought my umbrella! There were a few times when I had to finish a painting in the rain! The umbrella I use is by Best Brella. It cost a bit more than others but it is well worth the money!

Next stop: Provence! Stay tuned..

I’d like to mention a few of my upcoming workshops this summer: San Clemente and Yosemite Valley, California. Please consider joining me at either or both! View my 2013-2014 schedule here.

June 22-23 Workshop at San Clemente Art Supply, San Clemente, CA.

August 18-24 Workshop: How to paint loose and atmospheric watercolor, Yosemite Art Center, Yosemite, CA.