Updated: Apr 20
I’m not a very good painter, traditionally speaking, which isn’t a very good thing because painting is my primary medium. I’ve always worked graphically because it’s what’s appealed to me but I’ve always had a difficult time with detailed color theory, the idea of mixing and blending to achieve things like skin tones has always eluded me. It’s never really weighed me down too much because, as I said, my work is always pretty graphic, highlighted by bold colors and line, not something that necessarily needs much color mixing or blending. But I’m always experimenting, always wanting to do something new, something different, so I decided to say, “fuck it,” recently and dive back into using the human body as a subject. There was a lot of blank staring at my palette and squinting to read paint names before I could even fathom where to start on this new project. I was rolling in pretty negative, thinking, “Well, I’m probably going to ruin this fairly quickly.” But sometimes low expectations are good in art because you’re not crippled by the anxiety of potentially messing up your project, you’re just giving it a shot, and sometimes just giving things a shot can be extremely beneficial.
That’s basically what went down in my newest projects, I mixed an ok skin tone, loaded up a brush with paint and water and started blocking in shapes. Layer one went down pretty well. “Hey, good job! This probably won’t last,” I said to myself as I started to work on a darker tone. But, by some miracle I made an ok shade and I was mixing the perfect amounts of paint and water to lay down different shades and merge them together in a way that added depth. Now, don’t get me wrong, this painting is still pretty graphic. I didn’t just suddenly become Michelangelo but coming from my typical work this was a massive and unexpected step to say the least.
The biggest thing for me going forward in these projects was to not abandon that “fuck it” mentality and it really made a big difference in my work. We, as artists, have to take risks and sometimes when we get into a method we become perfectionists. One piece can be a big success and rather than retaking the steps to capture that lightning in a bottle, artists often play it safe and end up remaking the same thing dozens of times.
There’s two things I’d like to attempt to get across with this blog; the benefits of that “fuck it” mentality, and the notion that if you just take that risk or do what you’re not comofortable with it might just click one day. I was always fearful of working off of the human form and color palette and that fear made me try to be a perfectionist and when I did that everything fell apart. But when I said, “fuck it” and just went for it with low expectations, probably expecting it to fall apart, I was met with semi-successful results and I found a method that worked for me. Sometimes things just click, our grasp on things are often far better than we give ourselves credit for. But artists are perfectionists and it’s hard to escape that headspace but if you can, good things will happen! So try it, go get a canvas or big old piece of paper and try what you’re afraid of. Adopt that “fuck it” mentality and try what you’re afraid of, what you might never try, it may not work the way you expected or want, but give it a shot and see what happens. You never know where that risk might lead you.