For the first time in my art life, I feel comfortable in the eddy of Getting Better. Not working toward anything but just spending my days drifting through subject matter and slowly improving my skills. For the first time in my art life, I’m starting to see cause and effect. Spend a month focused on flowers. Start really frustrated and then get better. Weird, right?
I should start the day with Instagram. Efficiency experts may disagree, but I always look at Instagram at night and I get this wave of motivation right before I’m about to turn off my lights. (Read a book darnit!) Today I looked at it while eating breakfast (waaaay better than breakfast TV!) I saw a quote by Jean Perkins:
Stumbling on a style is both wholly accidental and wholly not. It’s accidental by the fact that you have no idea when it will happen. Today, tomorrow, in a year. It is not accidental in that it happens because you’ve followed hundreds if not thousands of tiny thoughts. Like string, you’ve followed it through tiny connections and the question what if? Followed them into cul-de-sacs and through piles of book pages and internet queries. And bit by bit both on your substrate and in your mind, this thing forms- a thing you’re almost unaware of until you look up from...
The flowers where I’m making the biggest gains are the flowers I have right in front of me in my home. It’s possible the peony is just tougher, but my strides have gone farther with the carnation, star gazer and the mum, all flowers I have access to live.
I think the reason is two-fold. First, when the flowers are in the house, I’m thinking about them constantly whether I know it or not. I think about their shape, their composition and their nature.
Historically, everyone painted basically the same*. You’d apprentice under a master and learn how to paint exactly like them. Maybe you’re painting Napoleon on a horse while your teacher paints Napoleon at court. By painting like your teacher, you were paying homage to him. Finding your own style didn’t get you very far.
Now, however, with copyright and illustration careers, style is ground on which we stake claim. With a moral compass. And guns. And lawyers. Sometimes when we are working to find our own style, we pass by others plots. It’s the worst when we don’t realize it. When we happen upon something we think is ours only to be told by the angry internet that it is not.