Just Do It

January 21st, 2011I have just read a blog that I have to share and although when I want to I can write well and convey my point I felt and love the way Sandra stated her message. Recently when confronted with fear of less income in my other job (not art related) and fear of unable to make more money in my desired job as full time artist (eventually) I was told by friends and mentors that I should feel the fear and do it anyway. So then I read the blog by Sandra and said good points. It was more about styles, etc, but that has also been a concern from after the readings of books, the taking of classes, the love of certain artist and their styles to my actual current style, which I dubbed as 'eclectic,' and I question which approach I should take, is it me or am I just being a copy cat of someone else. Well now I say "Just Do It. And if it feels right then it is a part of me and I will incorporate that into my style which is ever evolving.

Just Do It
by Sandra Haynes

Dear Karla,

This post is by guest author, Sandra Haynes. This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here. We've promoted this post to feature status because it provides great value to the FineArtViews community. If you want your blog posts listed in the FineArtViews newsletter with the possibility of being republished to our 13,000+ subscribers, consider blogging with FASO Artist Websites. This author's views are entirely her own and may not always reflect the views of BoldBrush, Inc.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth...
Not going all the way and not starting."

After a few years of teaching workshops and now private students, it has been a study in evolution of artistic skills. Some are curious about learning a new medium, while others know the medium they prefer and would like to get more proficient with it. Some are intense in their desire to stay with it and some pursue art as a creative, and more relaxed, hobby. All are artists...almost all want to get better.

I get a glimpse of myself in some of their journeys...studying all the art instruction books available, the DVD's put out by some of the nation's best painters, taking workshops. With such varying styles that are breathtaking in their beauty, the biggest challenge finally occurs to each individual...what style should be adopted? How do you decide? How do you ever get better?

The mantra I would ask each of my students to repeat, as needed, is, JUST DO IT.

Instruction is nice and will get you down the road faster than trying to "invent the wheel" by yourself, but in the end, you must put brush to canvas. There is, and never will be, any substitute. Put down the books, stop studying everything and pick up the brush. Within you is the knowledge. It's just paint and canvas...the next one isn't going to be the masterpiece, but another step closer to a better painting.

Did you read the book about brushstrokes? About color temperature? Try it out. There is a better way and better results than dabbing at your paintings with a brush. Use longer brushstrokes with a firm hand.

There is a better way than grays for shadows. Try mixing colors for interesting, lively shades of shadows. Look at the colors until you know what a cool and warm color is. If you're having a hard time figuring it out, go back to a good book and look at the color charts. Mix up the colors yourself and put them on a practice canvas. Try out the exercises, don't just look at the pretty pictures. ( A hint here...don't use student grade paints, the colors are "off", and canvas panels make really good practice surfaces at less than a dollar for an 8x10".)

If you have questions or want to paint with someone, try to make it someone that is further down the road than you are.

Somewhere it has been said that after you paint a thousand canvases, you will know how to paint. Your painting style will also start to emerge. I'm working on that theory and believe it to be true. A lot of what I have painted was pretty much garbage, but it was the best I could do at the time. But guess what? Each one gets better.

Will I stop when I think I'm pretty good? Absolutely not! I will paint until I do my thousand and then decide if I need to do another thousand.

You will make a multitude of mistakes, but they're not fatal. In fact, they are necessary...and there are a lot people out there to cheer you on.


With brush in hand, all the best,