Today I started the drawing for a portrait I’ve been commissioned to do. It’s to be a surprise so I can’t share it here with you. I did take advice from Lance Weisser (blog at weisserwatercolours.com) and I’m doing the drawing using watercolour pencils. Hopefully this will deal with the problem of trying to cover up graphite pencil marks with paint.
This week I came across Robert Bateman’s website and he gives his advice on painting. Here’s the full article.
When I was in college I worked in a picture framing shop and Robert Bateman prints sold faster than we could frame them. I was always in awe of his work and how he was able to capture wildlife in such an amazing way.
There are things he says that really resonate with me.
One definition of a masterpiece I have heard . . . when you see it, you should feel you are seeing for the first time, and it should look as if it is done without effort. This is a very, very tough yardstick. I wouldn’t say that I’ve ever done a masterpiece, but when I am struggling with each painting – and they are all a struggle – I often feel that I am nowhere near those two goals.
How incredible that one of the most successful artists in Canada feels like this! I relate to the ‘struggle’ as I also struggle with each painting. There are times I’m ready to scrap it and that’s usually when it’s time to take a break from it.
People often ask how long it takes me to do a painting. The answer is, I don’t know. I work on five to fifteen at once. I like them when I first start them, then they always get worse so I start a new one to cheer me up. By the time the fifth one looks really awful to me, the first one doesn’t look quite as bad, and a new idea about it may have come along so I can work on it for a while. One took me about six years off and on!
This is exactly why I like to have more than one project on the go at a time. I think artists often suffer from the pressure to do ‘one thing at a time’ and that can be very limiting. Right now I need a break from Tied to a Dream so I can be happy starting on a new project and then go back to that painting when I’m refreshed and excited about it again. That will probably be on the weekend!