Today I wanted to talk to you guys a bit about painting…or more about the lack thereof. It seems that many beginners to painting believe that paintings are done in large, many hour, nonstop sessions of furious painting. Actually the truth is that large, detailed paintings are usually done in more short, frequent painting bursts, with little breaks in between. I’ll explain why…
The act of resting and not looking at your painting in progress is actually just as important as the act of painting itself.
When we look at something for a long time, our eyes start to get used to it. Things start looking fine no matter what you’re doing. Sitting for long painting sessions without taking little breaks can easily lead to more mistakes being made, simply because our eyes are no longer seeing them!
Just as with painting we need to take steps back and look at the “big picture” to make sure everything is harmonizing together well, we also need to stop looking at the painting all together for a few minutes here and there, to let our eyes focus on other things and forget about the image they think your painting looks like. Because I can guarantee when you’ve been away from your painting for a little while and go back to look at it again, it will look a bit different than how you remembered…be it for the good or the bad.
So find opportune moments in your painting to walk away and make yourself a cup of coffee. Maybe you need to wait for a layer to dry a little bit more, maybe you need to mix a new colour onto your palette, maybe you just finished the underpainting and are about to start layering your colours…
Maybe you’re reaching a point where you’re just damn frustrated because things aren’t going as well as you had planned the painting to go in the first place. Whatever it is, walk away from your painting for a few minutes.
When you return with a fresh mug of coffee in hand, things will be different. 🙂