Right now: Three Works in Progess
Every artist has their own individual approach to creating art. Everyone needs to figure out what method works best for them.
I’ve found I do best when I have multiple paintings in progress, at different stages of completion. If I’m not feeling the flow on a particular piece, I can switch to another one that’s at either a more basic or complex stage of resolution, and keep going.
There could be a danger in this. I have so many ideas, I could start 50 canvases, and nothing would ever get finished, just because my efforts would be too diffused. So to approach painting in a systematic and orderly fashion, I’ve developed a method which keeps the number of works in progress manageable, but still gives flexibility and choices.
I try to have 3 canvases going at the same time: A long term project, a medium term project, and a short term project. Long term will take several months to complete. Medium term is around a month. Short term is a couple of weeks.
I usually make an assumption on how long a painting will take based on its size. For example, right now my long term is 30″ x 30″, the medium term is 24″ x 18″, and the short term is 12″ x 16″.
The tricky part is the smaller works sometimes take a lot longer than I anticipate-smaller does not mean easier. Big pieces, however, predictably remain marathons.
Because of the staggered start dates and completion times, I always have something still fresh and new available to work on, something that needs very exacting details and decisions made, and something in between. It also means that in a typical three month block of time, I will have made multiple new paintings.
This model can apply to more than just painting. In life, what long term, medium term, and short term goals do you have going at any one time? It’s a great way to keep making consistent progress.