Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Enjoy the Process

A very common question asked to an artist is "How long does it take you to paint that?"  Mostly because the person standing there in front of you likes your work and feels the need to engage you as the artist but has no clue about the painting process so it is the first question that comes to their mind.  I have many times explained that I paint quickly but that I don't paint for long periods of time, so a 24 x 36 may take me a week to finish off and on where I can paint a 12x16 in one evening.  I usually then mention that is my main reason I like acrylics over oils and that if I'm painting in oils I have to be working on 3 pieces at the same time because the drying time makes me crazy impatient.  I would take a certain amount of pride in this fact.  Like the fact that I can paint fast made me stand out as an artist.

There is certainly a difference in painting fast and being prolific.  Prolific painting leads to proficiency while painting fast may only lead to stacks of mediocre artwork. After 5 years I think that I'm beginning to get it.  I've read over and over that sketching out the composition is a vital step, not to be skipped but skipping was exactly what I would do.  Please don't think that I'm saying that I think everything I have painted is junk, but I think often the struggles I get myself into with a composition might not have happened if I had taken more time to plan out the work.  

So this is my "Year of Art" and I'm dedicating myself to slowing down and enjoying the process involved with creating art and writing this blog.  So with that in mind, I thought I would share with you what I've been thinking about for my next painting.  A few months back I started what I saw in my mind a series of artwork that focused on my memories of the country childhood I was blessed to have being raised in Central Missouri.  When I think of one color that best describes my memories of Missouri, it would be GREEN.  Green was everywhere you looked most of the year.  A canopy above and several layers of undergrowth that covered all those hills.  Unlike it's neighboring state of Kansas, the thick forest and many hills would obscure your view.  I would often think that a tornado would be right on top of you before you could even see it coming.

I think that is why I painted the background on both "Life at the Fence Post" and "Lunch Under the Mailbox" in a solid green tone that kept the focus on the foreground.  I don't think that I will treat each piece in this series this way, but I am still loving how these two turned out.

For my third piece I want to continue with the fence post, morning glories and a definite grass line that shows the black, rich and fertile dirt that covers much of the state. I want a calf standing in the tall grass and wild flowers that is looking straight at you through the barbed wire.  I'm considering a chicken or a quail at the grass edge looking for a bug breakfast.  

In preparation of the start of this new piece, I have created two sketches so far.  Both have helped me greatly when thinking about how I want this painting to look when I am finished.  There are still questions that I still have to consider.  For example, which breed of calf do I like better, the Jersey or the Holstein?  What other wildlife if any do I want to include?  Do I continue with the solid green background or do I try to add sky and distant hills to this one?  It is obvious that I need to keep that sketch pad close by. 

I would love to hear from you and please visit my website to see a complete collection of my work.

Life at the Fence Post

Lunch Under the Mailbox

Renderings for my next painting


  1. Exactly~ Every piece we create is like a diary of our life. It's a recording of all that's going on in our life each day that we work on it. Can't wait to see what you create this year!

  2. That is such a true statement Katherine. Art to me is an avenue to leave a legacy.