One of the first steps to becoming an artist is to believe that you can. Another is to accept that you will make terrible paintings, I still do! Another is to take courses from artists whose work you admire for some reason. Not because you want to paint like them (although in the privacy of your own home that’s fine) but because you love some aspect of their work or their attitude to painting or because past students have created work that you’ve started to notice. The more we practice our painting and courageously try things that aren’t exactly how we have always approached things the more adaptable and confident we become.
In my course, the self-paced version of Experimental Still Life, I want to inspire each student to - surprise, surprise - experiment!
Above you can see one of mine ( an experiment from lesson 9 Module 6) that I’ve just finished (March 31st, 2023). Most of this painting was created with a palette knife and a few quite scruffy brushes. I haven’t used a palette knife that much and I was aiming at an abstract painting with colour as the main subject. I think because I was focused on these particular criteria it made me forget about “trying” to make an excellent painting. I really was in the process. Taking this attitude across many exercises in seven modules of the course means that I’m able to learn new approaches and start to combine them, or not in my own unique way. So will you.
In my courses you see me make mistakes, you hear me judge myself and question my own thoughts - ultimately realising that if I like something, if what I’ve done pleases me then that is good enough. No one else has to validate it. Equally, if others around you are raving about your work and you’re not feeling it and it’s not what you want to be doing, listen to that! I don’t mean you should spoil something if there’s a keen buyer for it - but if you really don’t love something you’ve created you’re not going to enjoy selling it. Can you be brave enough to obliterate part of the painting and dive in again and make the work stronger? There is no rush. Wait until you know. If you can you’re learning to be Brave in Paint.
I posted this painting onto instagram this morning - I haven’t quite decided on its title and I had some interesting suggestions. I was delighted with the response to the painting but also found myself thinking about whether or not I should start to deliberately paint this way every time. The answer is no. I love discovery and there is no pressure to streamline my process, only if I decide to put that upon myself. It’s easier for other people, for galleries of course, to predict what you will send them. Strive for quality always but value the exploration while you can.
Anyone who buys the self-paced version of Experimental Still Life when it is released in June/July has lifetime access to the course that I will iterate, refine and add to. You have personal access to me, if wanted - either via direct message or in our private group on my course platform for as long as you want or need. If this sounds like something you might be interested in make sure you sign up to the waitlist here.