I Can't Paint the World

... but boy if I could...
I get frustrated with the little time I have to actually paint. And I have to remind myself even these little quick paintings matter, if only to remind me that I AM a painter. I Am an artist.

Even when I had more time I always tried to put too much into a painting. I remember an important lesson my favorite watercolor teacher taught me one day when we were outside painting in plein air. I had taken on way too much and I was tired, rushing and so far from finishing the painting. She told me "You can't paint the world" then suggested I narrow my focus to a much smaller area of the landscape next time. So the next time I did just that. At the time I thought" How boring!! How is this going to be anything "frame worthy?". But now looking back these tree trunk paintings, they are some of my favorites and they're not in frames. I'm still challenged with always, always, always producing a frame worthy painting. But I have to remember that seeing and focusing on elements - not the whole world - is where beauty lies and you become that individual artist letting the world in on what you see.

So remember all you frustrated artists, just like me, who never have time to paint the world - you NEVER will be able to paint the world.

1. Sit down and sit still for at least 10 minutes. Look, really look at everything. What does your eye keep going back to?
2. Paint or draw just that element. Even if it's a 15 minute sketch painting. That's fine. Do it, paint it, don't worry about creating a masterpiece or framing or if it's a good enough to give to Aunt Sally for her 79th birthday.
3. Don't judge it. Not now. Close it up. Put it away - especially if you're like me and want to always paint masterpieces.
4. Look at it the next day or next week. Set it out so you can see it while you fold the laundry or cut up veggies for dinner.

Finally - you will grow to appreciate these glimpses of your world, of what you see and can recreate.

Then... do it again!