So this week I'm up to my elbows in oil paint... something I'm not quite comfortable with, but slowly getting there. These small lanscape studies are mostly an attempt to learn about the paint and how it blends, mixes, and dries. Some are more successful than others, but all are part of the learning process (there's that word again... "process").
As I sit at the easel smearing paint from one end of my shirt to the other (occasionally getting some on the canvas), I often think about how I would define "better painter". Of course I'm the only one who can nail this down as it applies to my own work and I'm sure everyone has an opinion that differs to some degree from mine (maybe getting less paint on me and more on the canvas would be a good start). I used to think it meant learning to paint in a very realistic almost photographic style. I worked for years pushing my art that direction, but as I get older, my tastes are constantly changing. Now the goal is to say more with less. There is still a desire to capture some subjects in a hyper-realistic manner and I'm grateful to have learned these techniques (like accurate drawing!). There will be times when I need to lean on those skills. Still, I find my brushes are gradually getting bigger, my color choices a bit bolder, and I seem to be acquiring an ability to walk away from a painting before it's completely over-rendered. I'm not there yet, but that destination had been programmed into my artist's GPS and I'm on my way... even if I seem to be taking the long way.