Observe, Then Paint

After winter break, it can be a bit difficult getting back into the habit of painting on a regular basis again. A lot of times, I find myself out of ideas and out of inspiration, so I spend my first few days messing around on the canvas. One way to help get out of this writer’s-er-painter’s block is to simply stop working, and start observing. So this week as I painted on my canvas and scratched everything off dozens of times over and over again, I was reminded of the importance of slowing down to look at other artwork. Conveniently enough, I was signed up for a trip to the MET this past weekend where I was given a chance to see the El Greco special exhibit. Although my style is very different from this Spanish master’s, being exposed to his work and other old master’s work helped to inspire me.

Looking at an old master’s painting can really help me map out my own painting. I do this by taking a certain element of his or her work (be it the color scheme, composition, etc.) and I create a non-objective piece loosely based on the original painting. The next time I’m having serious “painter’s block,” I can refer back to a painting I loved at the MET, and start from there.

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