Here's a demo I did for my workshop. It is a one shot 18 by 24. its pretty rough, but I thought you might enjoy seeing what at least some of them look like when they first come home. I don't think I will actually finish this one, but I have a picture in my head, and I can use this one to get color notes. This whole painting was done with one No. 12 nylon brush. I have been fooling around with some softer brushes lately. It may just be a phase I am going through. I am always fooling around with new materials .
One of the students in the workshop asked me what percentage of my paintings "work out". I think I answered 50 per cent. I do go through periods of time where that average is much higher. The high mortality rate is for starts I make outside. As I have said before, I bring them inside and work them up. Of those paintings that were started outside that are elected for finishing in the studio, I am guessing 90% end up in a frame. maybe more. The point of this is I make a hell of a lot of paintings. I have literally done thousands. I ruthlessly cull any start that isn't above the ordinary.
I have painted so long, that by and large they are all passably well drawn. I can get the look of a place, pretty much every time. The paintings that fail do so not because they are short on information, they fail because they are short on art. When my paintings are weak it is because they are matter of fact. I look at them and think,"so what?". Sometimes there is a spark of something in a start that leads me to say,"there is something here to work with". Sometimes the start is a "painting with a problem" and I can perform surgery of some sort and fix it. I believe in cutting my losses, I don't think that everything I do is golden. But if I do a lot of paintings, some of them will be good.
EVEN A BLIND CHICKEN GETS A GRAIN OF CORN NOW AND THEN.
I was exhorting my students to do lots and lots of paintings. There are some artists out there who do only about six paintings a year. They work so carefully on each one trying to craft it as perfectly and as tightly as possible. The problem with that approach for a learning painter is that design is learned by designing lots of paintings, many hundreds. If you only make six paintings a year you don't do enough to learn to design them well. In the art magazines I frequently see paintings that are super tight and obviously took a long time to make, but the design has some horrible flaw, or is just uninteresting. Often these paintings are made from a photograph and they have no design at all, except for cropping. I suggest that you do lots of starts and one shot paintings and stack em up. You may not want to be a one shot painter when you grow up. My work I show is almost never premier coup,that is, made all at one go. But it is great to get lots of mileage under your brush and that's how to do it.
Tomorrow I am going to show you a way to utilize some of those starts that don't work out as well as the keepers.