Let me show you my best painting secret!
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Paint miles of canvas! Yes my previous article proclaimed this and I stick by it. Just one snag though - it can get a bit stale if you use one approach for weeks on end. Without variety in your art process there will not be much progress. Even worse - it might begin to feel like a chore! The great part about being an artist is the freedom to decide. It is all yours and we sometimes lose sight of this because everything else in life has to be so tight and pc. Cut loose and do something different.
Some ideas (please add some of yours too)
1) Toning the canvas the same colours getting you down? Go for multi-colours in loose blocks all over the canvas. What shows through when you start the painting may give a new twist;
2) Drawing the outlines of your subject in pencil seems ho-hum? Try charcoal and work at arms length. Get free and loose to show energy and bold big shapes;
3) Oil paint again? Try watercolour. Add some pastels over parts that have dried for a multi-media approach.
4) Change your palette: Try painting in monochome too. This does not have to be black and white, but any colour of your choice. Just vary the values and see what happens. The lessons learnt are priceless.
5) Use different tools: Swop the brush for a palette knife for example. Use your fingers to soften edges where required. Use a rag or dry brush technique over dried surfaces to catch the light.
6) Step outside. Use a viewfinder and crop any outdoor scene and paint that in twenty minutes. Time yourself. Use a large brush eg: size 12 only.
7) Gallery crawl: Visit galleries, museums and even artist friends and take a break from your studio for a day or two. Let the experience soak in. Let the juices bubble a bit. Ideas will come. Act on them.
8) New sights. Bored with your neighbourhood? You do not need to go on an expensive holiday. Try going for a drive out at a time of day that is not part of your usual routine. For example in summer take an early morning drive or walk (if you a a late riser by habit) and see how the light changes familiar sights. Another approach is to paint a nocturne - what with there being so much artificial lighting in towns and cities it is possible to paint exciting scenes this way.
9) Do a self-portrait with any medium of choice. Simple or detailed - that is up to you. It may reveal more than you think!
10) Music - change it - turn it up. Music can light up the creativity in you.
What works for you?