There needs to be a struggle with one's painting. Without a struggle there is no art. Struggles come when we are learning. When our vision is greater than our abilities. We push for perfection not knowing what perfection is. Only when we recognize perfection do we understand why we are struggling. We want each painting to be better than the last which creates the question of what is better? So we need to better define for ourselves. These are all ideas passing through my mind when working as an artist.
I create the struggle though challenging myself with new ways of presenting old subjects or taking on totally new subjects. My struggle, at present, is how impressionistic to go with my present painting. Too impressionistic and it will not be me. The subject is totally me but how I handle the paint could totally lose my characteristic look. Pride will not let me go too far astray from how I do things, I want people to recognize my work without having to look for my signature.
For me impressionism is a difficult style. Photorealism, for me, is fairly simple. It is just spending more time working on a single piece. With impressionism each stroke matters. I take my time placing each stroke and every stroke has a different color. Maybe I am doing it all wrong and that is why I struggle so much... One peony took me all day to capture on canvas the other day because of how I wanted it to look. I wanted it to look as though I just whipped it in there, but still have some of the individual characteristics of the peony I had actually photographed. It required some careful placement of each stroke . Had I used live peonies some would have been put into the painting dead... I love painting from life which is something I struggle with. It hurts my pride to resort to photos, but to get what I want in this case I have to use photos or artificial flowers.
In my head I see these paintings that I struggle with framed and hanging in people's homes before the canvas is even on the easel. I see my collectors pausing to look at them and smiling, appreciating the work I put into them with out seeing the work itself. I want to lift their spirits and so I paint visual candy. I am lifting my own spirits while doing these paintings so I do not mind the struggle as long I get a smile at the end of completing each painting. I myself need those smiles at times.
Artists are aware of all that is depressing going on in the world. Sandy Hook threw me off for weeks and still does. I paint for myself but my hope is I am helping in someway with what I do. I know seeing the works of other artist lifts my spirits every day. Thanks Brian, Bruce, Cate and the rest of my buddies on Facebook. Actors, dancers, drummers all make the world a better place.