Best Laid Plans
It is now 2021 – New years resolutions usually don’t work for me. I recently, listened to a podcast on Saavy Painter about making goals from an attitude that assumes you will succeed in reaching them before you start. This sounded like it could work. I have not written out new years resolutions for a while but this might be the year to think about art goals. I would like to paint 100 paintings! Oh did I mention they needed to be my best work. I want to paint some that are constructed landscapes and I want to paint larger. One obstacle is immediate. How can I paint larger in a small bedroom that has become my studio? And where are the 100 paintings going when they are finished? Clearly I will be moving to a larger studio if I’m thinking positive. Right?
The above painting was the first plein air piece this year. Does it qualify for my high quality inventory? Expectations can get in the way of just doing the work. You haven’t got time to worry about outcomes because there are so many other factors that go on outside in nature. This is why I love painting plein air. On New Years Day I found this view from a bridge that connected to a private road. It was cold and windy so I wanted to use my car to block the wind. I pulled onto the narrow bridge and set up. It meant no cars could pass but I took the risk. Many things went wrong that day. My medium cup was blown over; brushes flew off the easel when the wind gusted. The easel came off the quick release plate on my tripod, but thankfully didn’t go into the river. Worst of all I began to get cold especially my feet. I stayed because I wanted a better painting. I liked the cold, dark water moving fast and pieces of white snow/ice along the edge. A huge rock cliff replaced the sky. The sun came and went but the wind was unrelenting. The decision to go home was not made by me. I saw a car drive up and a non-smiling woman got out of her car to tell me I was on private property. She was right I had to leave. In the end I would have liked more time to resolve some areas of the painting. But that woman did for me what I should’ve done for myself, find someplace warm.
What do my new years resolutions and this story about my first painting of the year have in common? For starters, if I’m not painting a lot I will never reach my goals. While a positive attitude is welcome, not every painting is of good quality. The main point is to try again the next day. [Day 2 below] Happy New Year!