Sunday, 26 April 2009

Relax and Enjoy the Process

Still Life With Melon, 6 x 12 inches (15.24 x 30.48 cm), Acrylic on MDF
2009 Kim Bennett

In February 2009, I was working on a painting that was to be entered in an exhibition. The challenge was, to select a painting from a list of master artist and do our own interpretation of it. I selected a still life from the impressionist painter Monet.

In doing so, several attempts were made on the same surface. When things were not going well, I sanded the work back to the essentials. But, each time they were nearing completion. Why did I do this? The painting was just not working for me. The decision of how to approach the painting kept changing. I now realize that if I treated each attempt separately, I would now have a progression of studies or even sketches to look back on and use as a learning tool.

As the deadline neared the painting had to be finished. It also occurred to me that I could have completed several paintings in the time it took me to produce the final piece. By treating each painting individually I would have had three or four pieces to select from, and not be forced to send in the only completed piece.

During this time, while looking through paintings by Monet, I noticed he often produced several versions of the same study. One example would be “The Fa├žade of the Rouen Cathedral” (1892 – 1894). What he did was to take things beyond. He produced more than 30 works of this cathedral on canvas. Each was created independently and simultaneously. As the weather and the seasons started to change the paintings of the works created varied in the use of light, atmosphere, mood, etc. You will be able to find some examples of the painting here: http://www.learn.columbia.edu/monet/swf/

Yes, we learn from our mistakes. Sometimes we can get so caught up in producing the one painting it can become an unhealthy exercise. When we struggle in our search for perfection we can loose sight to what is important. Just relax and enjoy the process.

-Kim Bennett

9 comments:

  1. It's beautiful. In the end it looks like you've learned some of Monet's sectets.

    Sometimes when I am struggling with a painting I grab a camera and document the process - then I soon find out if I'm spinning my wheels or not, and can "retrace my steps" if need be.

    I adore the faux marquetry box landscape in the post below.

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  2. Hi Katerine,

    That is a good sugestion and thank you.

    Kim

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  3. Beautiful. You are very talented. Yes enjoy the process.

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  4. A beautiful painting...and wise words!

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  5. I'm guessing this was the final outcome to your entry? It came out very nice and yes learning is a journey and so much fun when we accomplish some semblance of what we are striving for.
    God bless and keep up the good work

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  6. Thank you Gary for your thoughtful words and insight you expressed in your comment. The learning journey is what makes the studio so fun and the return so appealing. I hope others feel this way about it too.

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  7. Hi Kim,

    I enjoyed reading your post. Sometimes we get so caught up in the process we forget to enjoy it!

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  8. Hi Nancy Glad you enjoyed reading it.

    One of the things that I had learned when painting this was the old saying that sometimes it is better to do several sketches than to work towards on big painting.

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