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.
How to Paint Without Bad Habits
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.
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.
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