I had taken a cautious approach. I cut a piece of primed linen from a roll I had and taped it to my palette. If the study failed, it didn't matter much. I would be throwing away about $1.50 in materials. It's always good when taking a risk to use materials that don't cost much and therefore come with little pressure to be a brilliant artist before you're really brilliant. Besides, I've always been frugal. Practical and frugal.
I decided to make a master study of a painting by a true master: Don Demers. He knows how to paint the ocean. Last year, I discovered that painting moving water is both challenging and—for viewers—moving. I want to keep going down that rabbit hole. If a painting I made last year of a river and a bridge could excite so much more admiration than all my still lives, I ought to develop my water-painting skills. It's not just a mercenary pursuit. I care about what people care about in art. Who wants to make paintings that nobody likes?
Remembering what local hero Gary Faigin said, "Master copies are like intravenous art education," I decided to make a master study of a marine painting I admired. I'm already committed to making a big water painting for a friend, so my plan involves making three or four master studies of great paintings before devising a few original compositions to submit to my friend for her approval. Whichever study she chooses, I'll paint at a large scale, probably about 5 feet wide. Talk about pressure.
It's OK. If Gary Faigin was right, I'll be fine. I only need easel time, and I've proven that I'm disciplined enough to keep working steadily. The Tacoma artist who critiques my work has already said I'm ready for a gallery. That comment echoes in my head, a response to my inner critic, who says, "Yeah, whatever, those edges are still too sharp, Amanda."
So sit back, put your headphones on, and listen to a story of ocean waves being glued to a panel. This video is intended to be useful to art students, artists, and those who like to "look under the hood."
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