Blog: Creating a balance

October 7, 2009


I read somewhere recently that it has been found to take a minimum of 10,000 hours of intensive application to master a skill. The article related to the playing of music by the Beatles. By the time the Band had a first hit record in the UK the writer was suggesting that the Beatles had already spent a number of years playing gigs in Hamburg and racked up the necessary practice hours.


I am of the view that an artist also needs to put in the same minimum hours of application, in order to understand, in any depth, the mental complexities of producing a work of art. That is why it is so difficult for part time artists to rack up the necessary hours of application. Another problem is, of course, the availability and high cost of large quantities of good painting materials. A lack of the necessary funds is a major drawback for many budding artists.


My approach to undertaking a painting is changing. I now like to avoid any form of “pre-planning”. With a canvas size selected and an array of painting materials at hand, my hand will select (say) a pot of acrylic white and proceed to apply paint. Even the introduction of white paint applied with a large palette knife will kick-start my mind into “overdrive”. An image or route to an image will then begin to very rapidly formulate in my mind. I may grab a postcard, photo or newspaper image as a form of prompt. A painting will then begin to emerge on the canvas. Each and every minor addition of paint or colour will change the “balance” of the image already laid out on the canvas. I am constantly trying to achieve “balance” or a “balanced work of art”. It is a very intensive and satisfying experience. Of course the quality of the painting produced is entirely for others to judge. It is the mental challenge of the “doing” that is so rewarding for me. It is soduku without the frustration!

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