Especially Painting

“Painting is damned difficult – you always think you’ve got it, but you haven’t.” –Paul Cézanne

This weekend I participated in a plein air event in Leland, Michigan. It was the first of the season for me. I’ve done many such paint outs and they are almost always fun, but in reality, they are quite a challenge since there is more than a little expectation to paint something worthwhile by the end of the day.

This year I felt oddly confident in what I wanted to paint and how I wanted to approach it. I decided that I would take my current way of working and simply move it from my studio and do it on a smaller scale outdoors, on location, in gouache.

It was not too long into my first painting that the words of Monsieur Cézanne came back to me…

My new personal quote from the weekend is, “Take nothing for granted. Nothing! Especially when it has anything to do with painting.”

As someone that has done a fair amount of sailing and bike riding, and who also knows that while those activities can be a ridiculous amount of fun there are some very real dangers that can in fact kill you.

As difficult as my reality might’ve been painting over this past weekend, in hindsight I take comfort in the knowledge that it wasn’t going to kill me. Not a chance.

Nevertheless, the wisdom of Cézanne continues to ring true through all these years.

As much as you might like to think that you are on a roll and that you have momentum built up in your work, the truth is each painting you begin starts at square one. This is not a bad thing, by the way, it just is.

While you may know something that you didn’t before, keep in mind: “Take nothing for granted. Nothing! Especially when it has anything to do with painting.”

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