getting clumsy

Too much skill is not always a great thing.

There’s an interesting relationship between facility and understanding. Ideally an artist should have both. But when facility exceeds understanding the result is something artificial.

Think of a person with an extensive vocabulary who is not saying very much. How does he sound? A little shallow? Insincere?  Now think of the opposite – meaningful, plain -spoken, understated. Who would you rather listen to?

From time to time in an artist’s development, technical skill starts to take over. When it happens, that’s when I decide to get clumsy. Whether it’s a using a giant brush or a palette knife on a delicate area, or roughing things up with sandpaper, making the game more difficult always brings me back.  Feeling like a lost student now and again helps me to move forward professionally.  By the way, there’s a brush hair embedded in the upper right side of the painting above.  I actually like the look of it.

So don’t feel bad if you’ve made a mess. It might be the most productive thing you’ve done in a while.

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3 thoughts on “getting clumsy

    1. I agree Tim, but would only add that we just have to “let” it look like a painting, which it already is. For me it’s a matter of getting comfortable with the missteps that inevitably occur, and not over-correcting them.


      1. Very true Chris, it is important to let a painting be. Your amazing work is a testimony to that.

        Its difficult for me to leave missteps alone, but I eventually do.The missteps do become points of interest on the my next paintings. I am always trying to refine the process in a pragmatic way. Working in pastel is pretty much, unchartered territory



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