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Still Learning After All These Years

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Still Learning After All These Years

In my last entry, which was some months ago, I talked about continuing to learn in the later stage of my life. It was brought home to me again recently.

The attached image consists of two paintings that are currently in process. Both are 16x20 oil on panel. (By the way, in my last entry I talked about moving back to canvas after painting on panels for years. I've gone back to my old ways. Panels it is!) In any case, these two paintings represent two different types of painting. The bottom one is in the early stages. The pencil drawing has been converted to a "value" painting--using only burnt umber and white to create the under-painting without color. The top painting is much closer to completion, yet still approximately 10 hours away from being done. All areas of it need work and further development.

Here is where it gets interesting. The lower painting is much more representative of my earlier work--somewhat graphic in nature. Many of my previous paintings are of urban buildings--man made constructions and so on. And while the sailboat in the top painting is man made, the bulk of the scene is natural; water and forest. This is a continuation of the most recent paintings I have done based upon outdoor subjects photographed in Maine. These have taken me out of my comfort zone. I know how to paint bricks and walls, clapboards and windows. Water, trees and landscapes/seascapes are an entirely different matter and it has taken a lot of time to move this painting to it's current stage. I was helped immensely by watching a few YouTube videos posted by Christopher Pothier. Chris is a magnificent painter. I took a class from him twelve or thirteen years ago and learned as much or more from that class as I had learned in all others combined. So, I watched a couple of his YouTube postings where he explains and demonstrates his technique as he approaches the completion of a work.

I not only learned new ways to handle, apply and mix paint; I learned how to be more patient. I believe I am already patient in that my paintings take, on average, 40-50 hours to complete. However, watching and listening to Chris helped be realize that I wasn't patient or thoughtful enough. My first session on the sailboat painting after viewing the videos, confirmed I still had more to learn, but I also knew that I could now be a better painter than I have been. I am grateful that Chris is so willing to share his knowledge and experience. It is invaluable. Part of the lesson is to never assume that you know or have learned enough. There is always more. I should have the final version of the sailboat posted on the website within a week or two. The lower painting in the attached image will take longer. I have already reconsidered how to handle the detail of that painting and l am looking forward to sharing it.

I encourage you to view Christopher Pothier's work on his website. If you have an opportunity to visit any of the galleries that represent him, his work is stunning in person. We are privileged to have one of his originals hanging in our living room.

Until next time.