It’s one thing to keep my work consistent, another to make it cohesive, and yet another challenge to maintain a continuous flow of new work.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to aim for completing 100 paintings, measuring 10″x14″ or larger, by the end of the year. Half way through the year, how close have I come to meeting my goal of half that many pieces? If you’ve been following my progress on Facebook, you’ll know that I remained pretty close to target through the first several months. A month of travel in May to gather photographic reference material, and another couple weeks in June, threw me off track because of the difficulty of carrying larger paper or canvases along. But I’ve tried to get back into the flow since then to make up for lost time.
The key to my maintaining a continuous flow of new work is to be continually returning to the task. As soon as one painting is complete, I photograph it, critique it, revise it as needed, and then re-photograph it.
Why do I shoot it twice? Because I can often see in photographs problems that I hadn’t recognized in the original. Sometimes it’s a problem with composition, a matter of value, or some element that doesn’t work quite right. The photograph helps me identify any weaknesses more easily. It may be for as simple a reason as taking me out of the “painter” mode and allowing me to see through the more objective eye of an observer.
I often begin thinking about the next painting as soon as the first photograph has been taken. Is it a subject I want to explore further? Or is it time to find a different subject?
I keep idea files both on my computer and in a physical folder. A case of photographs often provides further inspiration if items around the house don’t suggest a still life. There’s no excuse for a shortfall of ideas to keep the artwork flowing.