I don't mean to be an alarmist, but there are certain habits
that artists develop when oil painting that can be detrimental to the larger
arc of their professional progress. None of us intend to pick up bad practices
but routine and absentmindedness can trip us up.
|Smoke and Mirror by Sangram Majumdar, 84 x 66,
oil on linen, 2012. I've been a fan of Majumdar's
work for years, and it has grown and evolved
because he has pushed into new territory.
I've observed many artists working over the years, and the
one thing that sticks in my mind about that whole array is that they all start
their works in a different way. Try to be this way too. Don't start the same
way every time, because chances are you'll end up with the same kind of
painting you've always created before. Start differently, use a different color
palette or painting tool, and stretch yourself--even if it is just a little
bit--every time you paint. You may end up somewhere unexpected and extraordinary.
When learning a new oil painting technique, don't just do it
once and decide right then and there if it is right for you. Be willing to try
out a different method or technique to see how it honestly affects aspects of
your oil painting art. Preconceptions can muddle any kind of creative endeavor,
so don't get bogged down and let yourself feel free to truly explore what you
are doing. That way you'll always be expanding your horizons.
|| Port de Pesce by Sangram Majumdar,
charcoal and graphite on paper, 15 x 22, 2005.
When putting oil on canvas, our hyper-critical inner voices
can start to shout. For me, that often results in me putting down the brush and
walking away. Don't do it! The best way to really make strides in your painting
is to see it through to the end. The painting may not be something you want to
hang on your wall yet, but you'll have learned a lot more than if you'd not
done it at all.
If you flip through any recent issue of American Artist magazine, you'll find page after page of oil
painting artists and instructors who are confiding the dos and don'ts of their painting
processes to us. If you want to assure that you always
get that kind of sincere, professional insight, give a subscription to American Artist serious thought!