54-REMINDER TO SELF: MAKE BETTER PAINTINGS

It’s easy to get sidetracked. It’s easy to put one’s attention on the wrong thing and thereby get off course. So I made this list today of what working as an artist means to me. In Eric Maisel’s wonderful book Fearless Creating he has a wonderful list of what working means. Here is my list adapted from his list and my own musings as a painter of 30 some years!

Working as an artist means all of the following and not in this order:

  • Knowing that I am amongst a very, very, very… small and fortunate few that have ever or will ever walk this earth that gets to express their manifest existence in paint or in any other way for any length of time much less my whole life.
  • That I have an obligation to those who came before me that were also thus fortunate and those ahead of me to do it well and not to waste it and to share, share, share.
  • This is a discipline not some kind of flight of fancy that I do only whenever it strikes me or is convenient for me to do it.
  • Inspiration comes from the work. Inspiration does not come out of ones butt.
  • If I stay in the same place for a while that’s good. If I stay in the same place too long, I won’t be able to move.
  • Painting to sell paintings is fine. Painting to move hearts is better. Sometimes that heart is my own.
  • There are no secrets, only things that are easier because you’ve done them lots.
  • Working as an artist means that you trust the universe implicitly and know it is without limit and it loves you. You can get up in the morning and paint ugly paintings and it still loves you. You can do that for an infinite number of mornings and it still loves you. You know this because you wake up in the morning and you know it that you have woken.
  • It’s ok to clean the toilets instead of paint, but it’s better to paint instead of cleaning the toilets.
  • Thinking about painting is overrated. One only has to look to art criticism to remember this. Painting is not overrated. Better to paint than to think about it.
  • At the end of the day, the thing is to make better paintings. That means work and study and dedication. It doesn’t come any other way.
  • One must be openhearted and vulnerable. One must speak their heart without layers of hurt and armoring, otherwise there is no truth to speak only more blah, blah, blah…that comes from hurt and misunderstanding. That’s what hate looks like.
  • Painting means being organized and ready. This means being clear-headed.
  • Painting means not being addicted.
  • Inspiration is not ours, it comes to us. We simply need to be ready for it.
  • Painting is done in the moment, not in the reactivity to things imagined in the future or past.
  • Painting through the disturbances of conditions and the seeming tragedies of conditions is what bravery is.
  • Painting is a compassionate act. Do it often.
  • We start with intensity and brightness. We cover it up bit by bit. Don’t do it.



With Warmest Regards,
Marla

Painting Minilessons
with Marla Baggetta

These “mini-lessons” grew out of my blog. I love sharing my experience behind the easel, so these are free. I write a new one every two or three weeks, so please feel free to share with artist friends.

​These lessons are mostly written text with graphics…short but useful tidbits from the foundations of painting that touch on subjects such as aerial perspective, simultaneous contrast or using negative spaces. I guide you through different aspects of painting and art that will get you comfortable with using pastels. You’ll gain confidence to attempt work that you might have otherwise been timid about.

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