Sunlit Pears 2
Casein on Watercolor Board
Its true - we are all our own worst critics.
There are paintings I've done that I thought were good, then I compared them to someone else's pictures and they didn't measure up (to my new standards). But, guess what - put them away for a while, pull them out and look at them with "fresh eyes" (as my friend says) and I like them again. The problem seems to be comparing my work to that of someone else. I'm finally learning that I'll never paint the way others paint, even when using their techniques. But that's OK - I paint like I paint and that's all I can do. Besides, I dont really want to mimic their paintings, no matter how much I admire them. I just want to see my work on display with others of similar ability and know that it holds its own.
Going to workshops, learning from DVDs, books, just watching someone else paint, etc. is great - just take those techniques and incorporate them into your own style. I'm always amazed to go to an art show of high caliber, such as the AWS traveling show, and see so many pictures that look alike. Makes me think that somebody is copying a style that is currently "in vogue" just to get ahead in the shows; i.e. did that artist study with John Salminen, or did Salminen study with him? Several times recently Ive looked at a painting thinking that I recognized the artist only to find that its by another artist, just painted in a copycat style. Sure, it's great to be in shows, but its not the end of the world not to be selected. I hope that my work can stand on its own merit without mimicking the “next best thing”.
I was once told that if artists dont change their style every few years they are not growing. I dont buy into that. However, that being said, it doesnt necessarily mean remaining stagnant. Try new things, but only if you really want to, not because you think you should. For instance, it was only in the past 18 months or so that, for the first time, Ive wanted to try some new things.
My first attempts at acrylic were not good, to put it mildly, but I purchased a few bottles of the fluid acrylics, liked them and bought a few more, and now I really love working with them. That has inspired me to re-try the tube acrylics again in the near future.
A demonstration of casein prompted me to buy a small set, which I loved from the start, and so purchased more. I was given almost a whole set as a gift, and the more I use that medium, the more I like it.
Soon Ill be trying to combine some of the mediums. (Just cant wrap myself around collage, tho!)
Basically, what Im trying to say is that we all have our own vision for our art, something that we are comfortable with and that makes us happy. Just because there is a new technique thats the trend, doesnt mean we have to copy it, or even utilize it at all.
Just paint what makes you happy be it realism or abstract, watercolor or collage and listen to your own inner voice. Sure, listen to constructive critiques, but ultimately realize that when YOU are content with the painting its finished!
Maybe you will never achieve that golden moment the painting you feel is your true masterpiece! But that doesnt mean you shouldnt keep trying, and it doesnt mean that you cant be content with your current achievements. Just enjoy what you are doing and have fun!