My third painting: The red barn and green hills…that still aren’t

Artist-Diaries-Red-Barn-In-ProgressThis past Saturday, I spent another three hours in my oil painting class. Unlike the first several I took where I whizzed through the painting of pears with a high certainty of success, my confidence on this third painting is wavering. Okay, more like completely shattered.

Admittedly, I bit off a lot in this third oil painting by choosing a landscape scene with many elements and trying to paint in an impressionist style. Yikes! There are many things wrong with this painting that I am starting to pinpoint each day until this upcoming Saturday where I hope I will be able to correct them or con Lee Hartman into fixing it for me!
There are two challenges to this painting.

One is that it is just a harder subject matter with elements such as clouds, grass and distance. None of which I had to deal with in my paintings of pears which focused solely on the pears with little treatment of the background. This challenge I can deal with as it is a matter of honing in on your ability to observe and the skills of your hands to manipulate brush and paint to do what you bid it to do.

The second challenge is the harder one I am grappling with. That of trying to figure out when my painting is any good as an impressionist piece. With realistic paintings, you just look at the subject matter and decide if your painting looks like the real thing. Impressionism is so much more subjective. I can tell whether I like another painter’s impressionist painting and be pretty good at discerning its merits. However, to look at one’s own baby and call it ugly is a task riddled with landmines. Look at your own painting too fondly and you think a work is great and it isn’t. Look at our own painting too critically and you may doom it to failure because of the very thoughts of failure. I asked Lee how she knew an impressionist painting was any good and she said, “I just do”.

For those that may be reading this and think I am less enamored with the prospects of oil painting, nothing could be further from the truth. Am I discouraged a bit in this particular project. Of course! But I know it is the moments where one is most uncomfortable, where the world is not rosy that the greatest “learnings” are created. Can you tell I am an optimist? I will prevail!

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