How One Painting Helped Me Grow As An Artist

I never really paid too much attention to my growth as an artist. I was more interested in individual paintings, or ideas, but if there’s one thing my most recent painting has taught me, it’s to embrace the whole experience of growth and development.

When you’re constantly trying to make each new painting the best one yet, you might in fact be missing out on the bigger picture.

If you search too hard for ideas, they will forever elude you. Epiphanies and muses are for lazy artists, but sometimes you’ll find that a painting really does just wander into your head, almost fully formed, and when this happened to me, I was compelled to grab it. As soon as the idea was there, I sat down to begin creating it.

And it wasn’t the painting process that helped me grow this time. It was the process of formulating and creating a project. From planning to choosing colours to figuring out what I wanted to say and why: this latest painting became more than just a painting. It became as experience. Just as with a good bottle of wine you want to savour it, or have that last delicious bite a little slower. That’s what this painting became.

Another hurdle I overcame with this piece was not getting trapped. Usually, there will be a point in every painting, probably after the blocking in stage and somewhere before the details, where I get trapped. I get stuck on a colour, or a texture, or an area that just doesn’t look right. But now I’ve realised that it won’t look right, but I can make it better.

Several times during this painting I made a few quite big corrections, as you can see below.

I re-painted the sky to give it a little more vibrancy and to get rid of the distracting horizontal lines.

I realised that I’d got some angles and spacing wrong, so again, I picked up my brush and started sketching over in paint where I needed to fix. And then I fixed it. I didn’t get frustrated, I didn’t lose my confidence, I just got on with it, and got over the awkward, teenage stage of the painting.

Overcoming doubt is the biggest lesson of learned from this painting. Whether it was an external self-confidence I had before I started painting, or a boost because of the painting, I’m not sure. But I’ve learned to overcome the doubt and love the process of working, re-working and getting things just right.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@cjwaterfieldart) to keep up with the latest in my studio. Hit the little ‘follow’ button on the right to subscribe to my blog. Thanks for reading! 🙂


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