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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

What I learned from 10 Years of Painting Practice

'Return to Purple Haze'            9x12           pastel         ©Karen Margulis     2018
available $155
 I forgot all about it. It was a fun discovery though! I found a stash of old reference photos and decided to use one for todays painting practice. I didn't realize that I had painted this scene almost exactly 10 years ago until I stumbled on the old blog post from 2008. It was very interesting to see the old painting and compare it to today's version.

It was gratifying to see that I have made progress and grown as an artist in these 10 years. I could see many things that I didn't see 10 years ago.

  • I know I was much to literal to the reference photo. I have learned to let go of the photo and let the painting express how I feel about the subject. 
  • I wasn't aware that I was making everything the same shape, size and with even spacing.
  • I have learned so much more about how to create the illusion of depth.
  • I certainly didn't know how to create a visual journey for the viewer. I created a fence of lavender and didn't give a pathway through the painting. 
Look at the 10 year old painting below and compare it to the new version at the top of this post. What else can you see that I did differently in the new painting?


8x10     pastel    done in June 2008
It is clear to me that I have learned a lot. My daily painting practice has helped! But what I think I learned most of all is that I was enjoying the painting back in 2008. I didn't know what I didn't know! I loved painting then even though I wasn't getting the best results. I just enjoyed the whole process. I was in the moment and I didn't worry that I still had a ways to go on my painting journey.

So often we get frustrated with our progress ....or lack of progress. We know we need to work hard and practice but it seems daunting and frustrating. I don't compare myself to other better artists because I know that I still have work to do. I intend to enjoy every painting. Each one teaches me and advances me further.

Try This:  Take out an older painting. Try to go back as far as you can. Even if you are a new painter find one of your first efforts. Now look at some of your recent paintings. Enjoy the progress you have made no matter how large or small. Enjoy your own personal painting journey!

5 comments:

Studio Zanne said...

Great advice!

Donna Thibodeau said...

I like them both. One is more energetic and one more serine.

jojo said...

on remarque bien la différence! la vue et plus rapprochée !'harmonie est plus marquée et ces belles couleurs sans compter le mouvement du vent !

Kathy Greene said...

Thank you very much Karen for this post excellent advice as ever! It is now a wonderful bright captivating scene. I’m glad to see you follow your own advice 👏 ha ha

Julie Babb said...

You always know just how to left our spirits. With 10 days of forecasted rain, there is no plein air in sight. I am returning to the first painting I did with colored pencils 2 years ago & redo it! That will certainly perk me up!