The Best Teachers


12 Jul

Whenever I look for something to paint, I tend to go back to familiar landscapes and do them more than once. My favorite is The Point, where a rocky ledge angles down into the water just off the shore of Indian Lake, NY. The combination of the lake, the mountains beyond the far shore, and the pine trees that spike the sky is a scene I have painted many times in oil, watercolors, and acrylics. Another is a little island I can kayak to north of our camp. I sometimes paint it from the boat with watercolors, or take a lot of pictures to use as a reference for paintings when I am home. I always thought the reason I keep going back to these two scenes is because they are pleasing to the eye and easy to do for their simplicity, and as a basic form of composition, they represent the three most common elements that inspire me to paint them: sky, mountains, water. Now that I’ve painted them so often, I’ve come to realize that the real reason I choose the same scenes is not so much for the potential they might have for a good painting, but because each time I go back, I learn a little more about mixing colors, applying the paint and setting up the composition of the painting. I am teaching myself to paint, and trying to get it right. Hopefully, I can apply the lessons to fresh scenes in the future, but for now, I’m not willing to let go of The Point and The Little Island. They’ve been my best teachers.

“Learning what you cannot do is just as important as learning what you can do.” Robert Genn

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