Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Oh my God, indeed.
I feel like I am standing in a room full of people and I am in my underwear.
I typically would not show my first attempts at plein air painting because of the quality. They were a horrible mess and I feel exposed, but there is a reason.
When I see other people start to plein air paint and their first attempts are a bit short of what they expected and they feel that they "don't have what it takes" or "no talent" or any other reason they can't, I try to convince them to be patient. Trust me when I tell you this: everyone starts at zero in plein air painting.
I too thought I would just step out there and start cranking off gallery quality paintings left and right. It has been a long gradual process. Talk to any other artist and they will say the same thing. Their first attempts were horrible and they have painted thousands and thousands of paintings that the general public will never see to get to where they are.
The paintings I have posted here were done in the first summer I started painting which was five years ago. I had no idea what I was doing and for the first three years plein air painting would just whip my ass and send me home to think about what else I could do with my life. The first thing I learned was there are no magic brushes, panels, palette colors, workshops, schools, etc., etc., that are going to make you better or teach you how to paint. It is all just equipment and information that YOU have to learn to apply and the only way to do it is paint. Paint everyday. Over and over and over. Make thousands and thousands of mistakes. Each mistake is a lesson that no one else can give you. I found that for me it was a very organic process. I just crammed my head so full of it and painted so much that I was actually just along for the ride. Your work changes and you get better and you' re doing things you couldn't do before and it snowballs and gets bigger and you wonder where it will go in 5-10 years. I remember asking John Budicin what he thought he would do with his art next or where he wanted to be in, say 5 years, and he said,"I have no idea. I never planned any of it. I just go where it takes me."
So keep painting. You may be suprised where it takes you.


Jeremy Elder said...

Thanks for the wisdom. I am just starting to plein air paint so your words are timely and encouraging.

Keith Tilley said...

I think that when you start to paint plein air pieces it's best not to be to fussy about them. It's better to think of them as sketches and concentrate more on enjoying the experience of being outdoors.Then if you show them to people you can say 'I was only playing around and experimenting'. There is so much to get used to that it's impossible to do your best work right away.
Even experienced painters have to get back into it if they haven't worked outdoors for a while.

Doug said...

You've come a long way, baby... er... Kevin :0)

Thanks for showing these. It does give us hope to see how others started out in the beginning of their painting careers.

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