It stands to reason that the more you do something, the better you’ll get. Writing stories, playing music, and drawing/painting are the first three examples that come to my mind. For today’s newsletter, I’ve invited Patti Mollica, a workshop teacher for GOLDEN Artist Colors, to share the reasons that she paints daily so that you can tap into her inspiration for “bold, breakthrough discoveries.”
Mollica teaches fundamentals on how to “simplify values, work with color schemes, and apply bold brushwork” in her new DVDs, available at North Light Shop. Scroll down to learn more about her “Fast, Loose, and Bold” lessons on painting with acrylic, and see how painting daily can benefit you.
Bold, Breakthrough Discoveries Come From Small Daily Paintings
by Patti Mollica
One of the most challenging things for any artist to face is the intimidating stark white canvas, which stares you squarely in the eye before you apply that first brushstroke. Being a representational painter, I often have a pretty clear idea of what my final painting should look like, if successfully executed. The task of getting the image in my mind’s eye onto a pristine canvas can often feel like a tall order. I’ve found that the best way to deal with this intimidation factor is by painting daily.
I started creating (almost) daily paintings several years ago and have found it to be the single most efficient and speedy way of improving all my painting skills. The trick, for me, was to paint fast and small. I start and finish all paintings in one session, often in less than two hours. When painting small, I still confront all the same artistic issues as I would in any larger painting: composition, values, brushwork, edges, color harmony, accurate proportions, etc. If the painting doesn’t work on a small canvas, it isn’t going to work as a large-scale piece.
Another great reason to paint one-session small works is that the time investment is equally small. When so little time is at stake, the painting’s outcome–especially an unfavorable one–loses its sense of importance. If it didn’t work out, so what–only an hour or so was “lost.” That being said, I learn just as much when a painting is deemed unsuccessful, especially if the takeaway lesson is what not to do next time. Some of my most exciting breakthroughs have happened when I’ve given up on a piece and have nothing to lose, and I start trying techniques that lead to exciting new insights. This is the best way to learn! Small daily paintings give me “permission” to experiment with new approaches, colors, and techniques because I’m not heavily invested in time or materials. Conversely, if I‘ve labored over a large painting for weeks on end and gone through many tubes of paint, I’m less apt to cut my losses and admit to myself that the painting isn’t worth finishing. It’s impossible to grow and develop an artistic voice without experimentation. Small and fast daily painting is a fabulous method for trying on new artistic hats and developing your own personal style.
Many artists, including myself, post and sell their daily paintings on blogs. This is a wonderful means for getting artistic feedback and encouragement from other painters. Since we visual artists work solo, it’s a convenient way to connect with a like-minded community of painters from all over the world. On their blogs, many artists share their journeys–the ups, downs, tricks, tips, thought processes, and discoveries that went into their paintings. The most significant breakthroughs I’ve made from daily painting are how to simplify values, work with color schemes, and apply bold brushwork.~Patti Mollica