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I know lots of people who worry about their art. Now there is nothing wrong with honest self criticism because it helps you to develop. But if you are too critical you can end up losing the joy that prompted you to start painting in the first place. This is sad because I believe all art should be first and foremost a joyful process. It should be fun otherwise why bother? So how can we make it fun? I suggest you concentrate on the process of painting rather than the painting itself. What do I mean by that? If you are only concerned with how the painting turns out you will always be disappointed. It’s very rare that a painting turns out exactly as we envisaged it. In fact I’ll venture to say that I do not know one artist who is ever satisfied with his work, not one! We all see the bits we might have done differently or maybe taken a bit more care with but the point is – nobody else can. But by focussing on the whole process things begin to look different. Think how pleasurable it is deciding on a subject to paint and then setting up your paints and brushes ready for action. No doubt you’ll be thinking about what colours to use and how you will approach your subject. The very fact you are even at this early stage puts you in an enviable position. There are millions of people who would love to be able to do what you are doing. They dream about taking up painting one day. You are already at this stage.
Maybe you are painting plein air on a lovely day with a lovely scene in front of you. Perhaps you are with a group of friends who share your interest. These are things to enjoy. Don’t tie yourself to your easel enjoy the company, enjoy the fresh air. Get your flask out and have a cuppa, relax and savour this special moment. If you are in a group don’t compare your painting to theirs. Remember while you are only too conscious of the flaws in your work you won’t be able to see the flaws in theirs.
Appreciate it if you are on your own. Solitude can be a great help for a painter so if you are painting alone be glad and enjoy your own company. Paint in small spells rather than slavishly trying to finish in one go. This is so counterproductive and mistakes are inevitable if you find yourself having to rush to meet some imagined deadline. When I am painting I am on what I call ’artist time’. This is different from normal time. Sometimes it flies so fast, other times it seems slowed down. After a couple of hours it seems has happened to your work but then a few minutes later you are surprised at what you have achieved. Artist time includes many breaks so enjoy taking advantage by sitting back and having a think or having a drink.
The finished painting is now the end of a pleasurable process rather than the point of it so it doesn’t matter how it turns out. However I think that if you do relax and enjoy the process of making your painting you will end up being happy with the painting itself. Every time you look at it you will remember happy times producing it. Have fun!