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Friday, March 06, 2015

Why It is OK to Paint Something More than Once

'Summer Comes Gently'               9x12              pastel              ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting on Etsy $145
I don't ever worry about running out of things to paint. Inspiration can be found everywhere. In fact it is often difficult to settle down and pick something from the 33,000 photos in my photo files. Even though I have plenty of choices  I find I am drawn to some of the same images again and again. Some images just seem to speak more loudly than others. I listen!

I remind myself that is is OK to paint something more than once. In fact it is a good thing.

'Mountain Treasure'       pastel       8x10             $145
 Often we resist the urge to paint from the same reference more than once. Maybe we feel we need to try new subjects. After all once we have 'done' it what is left to learn?  There is plenty to learn!

  • Painting something more than once helps us become intimate with our subject. The more comfortable we are the more we are able to take risks.
  • Familiarity leads to more expression. Once we know our subject we have more success with making changes to our references. We can be more intuitive because we are already familiar with the scene.
  • Painting something more than once allows us to explore other solutions. We can try new techniques, change paper size and/or orientation, change the point of view. The sky is the limit!
  • We learn more because we aren't starting from scratch. We don't need to reinvent the wheel....only improve it!
I was asked recently if I had painted a meadow of poppies before. That led me to search thorough my paintings and quickly found these four poppy meadows. So the answer is Yes!  But each time I revisit this favorite motif I challenge myself to create something new. I enjoy the freedom that this old friend gives me to explore and discover new interpretations.

'Meadow Song'              9x12            pastel           $145

'Big Meadow'           8x10        pastel        $145

While we are on the subject of painting my favorite motifs,  I am working on preparations for my Wildflower demo for the upcoming IAPS convention. I do have some new openings for my  demo so if you are already registered you can add sessions now. Be sure to check the IAPS website to see all of the openings. You can add classes online by going to your registration record:

Open the IAPS website at www.iapspastel.organd click on IAPS CONVENTIONS - 2015 CONVENTION  in the left sidebar, or click on the yellow and red convention logo in the lower left corner of the home page - either will take you to the convention pages.  Click on REGISTER and then scroll all the way down to the bottom of that page - you may need to use the slide bar on the right side to get right to the bottom of the page.

Click on LOGIN TO EXISTING REGISTRATION, enter your email address and your password and you will go to your registration record.


Nic McLean said...

Funny i always thought the same-that i wouldn't want to paint something I'd already done but i guess you can reinterpret it and it doesn't have to be the exact same view. i know it's not exactly the same but i painted an impasto cow last year and never really cared for the background. i gave the same painting a do over with a much more vibrant colours recently and the painting sold within a day of me putting online!

Chris Lally said...

Thanks for another great post. I don't feel so guilty now.


I agree with you totally. A great deal of learning takes place by painting the same subject over again...perhaps in a different color scheme, or image crop. Yeah!

robertsloan2art said...

Oh this is so true! I love going back to a subject I've painted before, whether it's the same reference or just the same place or plant or animal. Some things just sing to me and every time the painting will come out different.

Some references have half a dozen paintings in them. As for from life, when I lived in Arkansas I often painted the view out my window in different seasons and weather.

bob ragland said...

See the book on Van Goth.
The title is Repetitions.
Also see the art of Peter Dreher.
Working in series is good.
How about Monet's waterlillies?