Did you know that creating every painting is a learning experience? Most people don’t think of a painting in this way, but to the artist, this is very true. Each mixture of paint, each brushstroke has its ultimate purpose in the creation of a painting.
A lot of trial and error goes into most paintings. Just look at how many times a painter will change a shadow, a highlight or everything in between. This is very much a process, an experience. Success and failures are often side by side, one element changes the other. The painter is always one brushstroke away from too little or too much.
The middle ground is sometimes hard to find or discover. A new and different perspective on the same thing sometimes can reveal the solution. Often getting back 15 or 20 feet from the painting can help one see it better. Sometimes looking at it in a mirror can help one see the painting differently.
I can’t speak for other artists, but with me, the painting process is very much this learning affair. It doesn’t matter if it’s a sketch or a very complex painting. All have something to offer by way of the learning experience. The painting across from me as I write has been a long involved experience and it is not quite half completed. So what I give it will be small compared to what it has given and will still give to me.
The long process paintings are very hard on me physically and emotionally. When the two I am presently working on are finished, I hope that I will be done with such emotional and physically demanding paintings.
If not, I will need again to draw on strength that is beyond me as these paintings are manifestations of such help and power.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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