Tag Archives | Craft Skills

Where to find my best Paintings? My best kept secret Uncovered!

Receeding Tide, Margate

Receding Tide, Margate Oil Painting

Hello again, Yes I’m often asked this question and I hand out my card so people can look up my web site and see my latest work. But there’s a catch!

When the weather is good I spend as much time as possible out doors in my ‘plein air’ studio – painting for all I’m worth! Why? Because like any crafts person I’m on a journey, of discovery, of learning, of improvement.

Updating my web site and writing blog posts, has to be done on rainy or cold days, or at night when it’s too dark to paint. But when I finish a painting the first thing I do is take high resolution photographs of it and put it in one of my online shops. So here is the Secret: To see my latest and best works – visit my shops online – You have a choice of two: Artfinder   click here  or Saatchi  click here

Now – about that journey of discovery, – The best way to learn is to practice, a lot, because the more practice you do the better you’ll get, bit by bit, little by little.

Sunset at Margate in Oils

Sunset at Margate in Oils

Think of the musician learning to play the piano or the violin, the same rules apply. Some used to say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become proficient in music, to play with an ensemble or an orchestra for example. So if you are only practicing for say 2 hours a week, it’s going to take you 96 years, to get there, providing you don’t have a holiday, or illness etc, or you don’t waste time by not having a good teacher or mentor.

Don’t let me deter you from your chosen challenge, but if you intend to succeed at it, you need to put in the hours. There are no short cuts, but there are rewards, even if they are internal, ie inner satisfaction, the pleasure of achieving a valuable skill, etc. etc. So do keep at it – Remember that three years at art college, plus many hours of homework etc is an excellent start to a career, but if you didn’t go to college, like me, we have to work even more, to get to where we would like to be. Q Do you know where you would like to be on this journey?

– The subject of a future post!  Thanks for reading.

Roald Dahl said: Lukewarm is no good! – Go at it Full Speed, with both arms, become passionate about it!

 

How long did you take to paint that?

Broadstairs Sunrise

Sunrise over Broadstairs, Kent in Watercolour

The people who usually ask this question, often have little or no concept of studying in order to learn a craft skill or a profession. It’s a discipline they have never endured or understood. They think that artists are born with magical powers, a gift of God! Of course in reality, we’ve had to learn our craft over many many hours. I used to know a musician who told me it takes approx 4000 hours of learning and practice, to reach a standard, sufficient to play with a local orchestra. Likewise an athlete will spend years, training for an event that could take as little as 10 seconds, in the case of a 100 metre sprint. Who would wish to visit a Doctor who hadn’t spent much of his life learning about medicine? So why are artists assumed to be born with their gifts already in place? Even the masters like JMW Turner, or John Constable, spent many years studying the works of their predecessors, and learning their craft.

Chichester Canal by JMW Turner

Chichester Canal 1828 by JMW Turner, Oil on Canvas

There is unfortunately no quick fix, no way of speeding up the learning process. Just hard graft. At the end of each year, I go through my work and assess if I’m making progress, usually it seems miniscule, but when viewed over a number of years, then real progress can be seen more clearly. I learned early on that it’s no good painting only once a week, to make real progress, I have to sketch or paint as often as possible. Luckily, I enjoy creating art so it’s a real pleasure for me.

Shown here is my interpretation of a spectacular sunrise over the jetty and harbour at Broadstairs. If you click on the photo, It will give you full details and more photos. Then we have Chichester Canal by JMW Turner, painted in oils on canvas in 1828 and currently at the Tate Modern, London. A master work of light and reflection, I think you’ll agree.

So when people ask me “How long did you take to paint that” I usually reply, “about thirty years of practice and one hour of painting”. It’s a shame we can’t charge for the 30 years of practice, like some other professions, but I suppose that’s another story.