nina colors

Archive for September 2009

lakewhite tops

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a plateau is a bummer…. for an artist, anyway.

I can’t explain a plateau (this is the first time it’s happened), but it seems to be a kind of loss of balance in the overall progress of learning. Learning seems to work like this; there is usually a kind of breakthrough painting that seems to pull techniques together in a new way, as a harmonious combination of skills. It’s great when it happens, and I’ll do a few in that style — but then what?

The next step has to be either to add another skill to the mix, or change how the skills are applied, or apply the skills to a new subject or motif. all these things usually disrupt the balance between the skills and the painting, which makes the painting process either very exciting or less satisfactory.

Until I find an effective balance,  I’m back at the beginning, and can’t change the balance without feeling like I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

Of course i could keep doing the same painting in the same way, over and over (as many professional artists do for a living), but I’d be bored out of my gourd.

So I try something new, and that disrupts the harmony, and my flow goes downhill.

Now comes the gotcha part: I can’t just go back to painting exactly the way I did before,  so I’m back to trial and error, trying to gain a new balance, trying to find a new relationship.

It seems like the plateau is actually a searching time. I am trying to do things I can’t yet do, trying different combinations of effects, media, colors, visual codes or brush styles, the way chess players work out new combinations … trial and error, many variations, patient analysis of why it doesn’t work.  But not so much analysis that I can’t get out of my head.

This too shall pass  🙂  Watch this space!


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