Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Passion Sandwich

Autumn Oil Paining Commission in Progress (30x40)
One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested. (E. M. Forster) 

While I continue to paint this large autumn leaf inspired oil painting (in progress for a client) yesterday morning I was listening to the Artists Helping Artists interview with award-winning California plein air artist Ken Auster.

Ken offered many helpful insights but one really struck a chord. And that’s the importance of the “passion sandwich.”  In a nutshell, it’s the benefit of separating the intellectual aspect of painting with that pure joy and passion stage.  Perhaps summed up in a simpler 3 word motto (which I quickly taped up by my easel):

Create with Passion & Joy!

Or Plan. Paint. Fine Tune. You get the idea. This makes sense and should be relatively easy. But what I witness often for painters of all levels (myself included) is the tendency to rush to the painting process too quickly with little or no forethought or understanding.

Now, I’m all for unbridled enthusiasm in the studio. But what happens when we paint without some planning? And all the passion, excitement, and creative may come to a grinding halt.

Or maybe we did do some planning (like a value sketch) but while we are in the middle of the creation phase we are still "second guessing" ourselves. Each time we hit the pause button we have to ramp up again.

This “stop and go” pattern may work for some artists but I agree with Ken. I think we’ll have a more productive and pleasant painting experience if we try to protect our passion and joy by bookending our  planning and evaluation.

I can tell you I've tried to stick to the "passion sandwich" diet during this painting. And so far it’s worked really well. For example, in the first "think" step I painted an mostly transparent acrylic underpainting where I worked out some design issues before I switched to oil paint--making the create stage much easier and quicker. 

P.S. For those of you getting ready to join in Leslie's 30 in 30 challenge (see her tips for doing the challenge if this is your first time) tomorrow I want to wish you all happy and passionate month of painting!

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