The other day I was happily painting in my studio when one of my studio mates, Scott Inguito, stopped by to see how I was doing. We started talking about painting (as always happens in an ART studio) and he started sharing his philosophy on "making it" as an artist.
Scott said that he was giving himself three years to just paint and see what developed before worrying about attempting to show his work. He wasn't going to worry about his style or creating a series of work. He was just going to paint and see what came out and what style formed on it's own. Scott truly believed that it took 3 years to flush ideas out and develop as an artist,
regardless of the art form.
I started thinking about how long I had been painting this time around. I started about three years ago and my style is completely different than from when I started and was learning how to use encaustics back in the summer of 2006. It's only been in the last six months that I found what I really enjoyed painting and my true style began to form. The series that developed is one of the strongest I've done, I think. I didn't realize until my studio-mate said it, but the three years rule really worked for me.
Scott also said he was taking the poet's approach to painting, having been a poet for most of his life. When writing poetry, he told me, you write many poems. You write just to write and to get things out. For every ten poems, you will maybe get one really good one. He figures that if he just paints, he may not paint a masterpiece right off the bat, but for every ten paintings he does, he'll be happy to have one keeper. He wasn't going to beat himself up for not creating a great piece of art every time. He knew that you had to paint some bad ones to get a good one.
I started thinking about what he said and how I was just beating myself up about the last two paintings that I had finished. I really disliked the last one, especially. I hated the amount of white space and the scale of the figures that I painted and felt like I was digressing, skills-wise. I can really be hard on myself when I paint and get upset when what I create isn't perfect. Sometimes this sets me back a few days before I can get back in the studio to paint again. What Scott said made sense though. I didn't have to paint a masterpiece every time. It was okay to have a not-so-perfect piece. It was part of the process of developing as an artist.
I am now giving myself permission to have paintings that I may not be happy with. I am letting myself be less-than-perfect and develop my artistic skills. I have to say that this philosophy has lifted a weight off my shoulders. It's so freeing to know that I can just paint and be okay with the outcome regardless of whether it's good or bad. Thanks Scott Inguito!