Reading needs a certain speed to make sense. Riding a bike is easier if you are going fairly quickly. Fitness is more attainable the fitter you are. I paint all the time. Strive continuously. I wonder if I slow down, I may become so slow that I will be able to see the paint dry... .
Does every painting need a focal point? Not necessarily. Think of some of the most famous artists’ work… Pollock, Mondrian, Andy Warhol’s repetitive portrait series. These rely not on focal point but on some other method of engagement in the form of texture, colour, pattern.
So why should we have a focal point? It’s part of the trail of breadcrumbs that you as the artist leave for the viewer. Neither too obvious nor too subtle… if you can lead the viewer’s eye through a painting to a point of interest you become the master conductor and your audience will be putty in your hands.
There are many ways to create a focal point and I will get to these in other blog posts. However in this painting I use the principle of contrast… this can be in tone, colour, shape, form or texture. Master the focal point and you will create a powerful experience that will make your audience want to linger in your painting for a long time .
Some people find routine helpful. I am one of those. I have a basic order to my day. I walk, eat, attend to business, eat, paint, ride to a café for afternoon coffee, paint, eat, sleep. That routine varies with travel or exhibitions. I paint every day. It is work, it is discipline, it is my drive. I have to, I want to, and even if I don't feel like it I paint. It is my work. I turn up for work. I try to be a good employee to myself .
Social media is achieving what great thinkers of the past theorised about. The ability for people to have control over their own labour and reap the benefit of the distribution of the products of that labour. It has been a revolution of noisy stealth. We can all have a say. A say in what we buy and a say in what and how we sell. It is already in full swing. The horse bolted, groundswell rising. Artists can be masters/mistresses of their own future .
I was told once by my mother, the weather will clear if there is enough blue sky to make a pair of sailor’s pants. I see the patches of blue and start sewing .
Shopping for paints in an art store is great, but I also love opening packages that arrive at the door. There are so many online art stores and every minute not shopping means another minute painting. This was my highlight today 😁🎨
Scott Adams once said "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." Mistakes (in my eyes) are sometimes the very thing that give a painting the edge, gives it character, the point at which the viewer exclaims. The splash, the drip of paint, the rough edge, the under layers peeping through. Some are intentional, others a lovely mistake .
I like to paint alone. It is a private thing. Once I had to paint live. People watched me and talked with me about the painting. I soldiered on. Now I can paint with an audience, but not fully. Not complete a painting all at once. Bits and stages, but not the finished work. For that I have to be back in my space, with just the painting and me and the slow dance .
Not every painting works out. Sometimes what seemed like a great idea becomes my greatest nightmare. The sickening feeling that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. Demoralised I step back. Step away. For a time. Trying not to send myself into an unhelpful place.
Breathe. Ok. I have painted hundreds of paintings. I will not be judged on the success or failure of this single piece. Abandon the idea, not the painting. Pivot. Reinvent. Feeling strangely lighter I return to the canvas, invigorated… determined to crash through or crash… I attack the painting with renewed enthusiasm, like a dog with a bone.
Sometimes when I push on I achieve more than I had ever hoped for, breaking new ground, opening the door to new possibilities. Sometimes it still does not work. Either way, I learn and grow.
I was asked the other day do I have a plan when I paint. The simple answer is yes, but the real answer is not quite. I see something and I paint it, but when I start, like a story, it has a life of its own. It changes and grows. Dark and broody becomes light and atmospheric. Summer becomes a bit more autumnal and the storm makes the seas rage. These stories are waiting to be told. Watch to see what unfolds .
Richard Claremont - artist. A peek into my studio. How I think. How I paint. How I run my art business. Bite sized daily chunks of goodness. Just me talking aloud, really. Join me for a chat over a cuppa.
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