|My painting of "Moo" in progress with my subject... outside the comfort zone|
There's a connection here -- between quality of work and the effort/time/energy spent on honing artistic skills. (Isn't that true in every profession or pursuit?) Collins realizes that he can't ever rest on his laurels or start to think his own work is good enough. Just because he's the best one day does not mean he'll hold that title the next. Unless he commits to his art ... and to improving beyond the status quo ... over and over. That attitude and realization drove him to greatness. And that attitude will keep pushing his art to greater ... greatness.
One of the drivers of his decision to step back and concentrate on drawing was seeing the quality being created by other artists. I understand. I look around me and increasingly, there are phenomenal artists and art all around. It's inspirational. And perhaps a bit scary. But, incredibly good for art as a whole. (The competitive spirit is alive and well in the art world -- and partly because of it -- we create better art.)
And What About Me?
I always want to be the best and strive to constantly improve. Keeping my eyes open and objective about my own work drives me to reach new levels.
|Painting on site ... from life ... challenging and enriching|
In reading the article about Jacob Collins, I thought about a conversation I heard about my 100 Faces project from a person analyzing this project's "worth." It was something like ... "she already knows how to paint portraits well ... why would she want to paint so many more of them." That was pretty shocking. The fact that I work at improving my work ... through whatever means I think should work ... is how I got to paint portraits ... and other genres ... well.
How Has the 100 Faces Project Affected My Work?
There's a new ease with which I can approach my work. There's less worry about how to do something -- which lets me concentrate on why I'm drawn to paint the subject and exactly what qualities I will emphasize. I get at the essence and ditch more details.
I'm still taking time to push forward. I'm doing more plein air work (see evidence above) to use as studies for studio paintings and because plein air painting is not my strong suit. It's not going to get better, unless I expend in the time, effort, and energy to improve.
Figuring out what to work on as an artist (and then doing it) is akin to practicing the scales for the musician. You get the mechanics down so beauty can spring forth.
100 Faces in 100 Days Project: www.jillbanks.com/jillbanks/100_Faces_in_100_Days_Project.html