Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Secret to Painting

There seems to be a rhythm to painting. There is a groove to this that when you are in it it can be very productive and rewarding. And then conversely there is the other. Falling out of the groove. Hitting a wall so to speak. December was a massive unproductive wall for me.
View from the driver's seat.
I painted today with Jason Saunders. He and I used to paint together almost every other day and today was the first time he and I have painted together in months.  And as we painted we compared notes of how our lives right now demand so much attention. Everything from driving a college age kid home from Boston 20 hours straight, to Travel Baseball, which takes ungodly amounts of parental attention. Every weekend. All summer. And we commiserated a bit about trying to stay in the groove. Trying to balance the obligations and distractions of life with a career in art. And I am pretty sure he and I aren't the first two artists to have to deal with it. Just feels like it sometimes.
Jason Saunders
But every time I hit the proverbial wall I remember the best piece of advice, the secret to all of this, that was given to me by Jason. I complained at some point about "the wall" and he turned and said so matter of fact-ly..."push through".
Push through.
There it is. The answer to all of this. Richard Schmid, Sargent, etc., etc. have all lived by this creed. I know without a doubt they have hit the wall over and over and over and what has separated them from those that didn't make it was the ability to push through. Focus and push.
Not quite sure what it is that is going to get me through the wall. I suppose no one artist knows for sure. But I will clear my mind a bit if I can, and focus. And push.


Denise Rose said...

Really good advice Kevin and I will have to remember that. Love the painting - looks like yall had a great day!

Lisa said...

Way to go capturing the beauty of an overcast, winter day. Glad to hear you and Jason are out painting again.

Doug said...

That's some good advice there, and it applies to all areas of life. Another great painting, Kevin!

DaddyYo said...

I try to dissect your paintings when I look to imagine the moves you make when you paint. I think your drawing is very strong and your texture variations make for definite mood settings and field depths.

Do you mind if I ask technical questions here?

Just starting out, I think I have a good idea of a paint colors choices from Jason's web site. I read that Jason uses mostly #4 and #6 flat brushes. What brush sizes and shapes do you use?

I really like the way you render leaf masses. They seem to have form and direction. I can almost see them move in the wind.

I also like the way you pull detail for limbs and grasses out of the flat paint plains.

What fine type brushes do you use?

Kevin Menck said...

Denise, Lisa and Doug-Thanks again for dropping by and posting comments. Its good to hear from you all.

DaddyYo- You can ask me any technical question you can think of. My colors are, Cadmium Scarlet, Cadmium Lemon, and Ultramarine Blue. Brushes are No. 1 Rounds. I use the side of it to cover areas and then the end to get the details. I also use flats in 2 and 4 but rarely. And the palette knife. That's where I get some of those fine limbs and things.
Hope that helps.

DaddyYo said...

Kevin - thanks a lot! That helps very much. I'm assembling my palate and other supplies and working on my skills at the same time.

I live near Ellington Agricultural Center so I have a lot to paint.

DaddyYo said...

What about your blacks and browns? I'm guessing an umber and an ochre and lamp black.

Come out and paint at Ellington some time.

Denise, Lisa and Doug - ya'll come too.

My real name is Michael Poindexter

Kevin Menck said...

Michael - No blacks, browns, greys. Nothing but Cad Scarlet, Cad lemon and Ultramarine. The magic of a three color palette. Come out to Leiper's Creek Gallery at some point and I'll show you my set-up and how the palette works.

Anonymous said...

Kev, this was so well said. We all feel that wall every now and then and need to keep your (or Jason's) advice on hand. Keep on painting together guys!

DaddyYo said...

Cool Kevin. Thanks! Please see the email I just sent to you.

Can you recommend some good plein air painting instruction books?

Susan Doubleday said...

Kevin, I really like your advice and the painting, too.. Very interesting about the palette knife to get the fine limbs, etc... like that

Anonymous said...

Often, when one hits a "wall" it's right before a break through. In your case, a "higher" level of painting. So congrats on hitting the wall. Now all you have to do is scramble over the top. If I were a better artist, I'd give you a leg up.