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The short cuts are the long way round

Lean onArtists never start at the point at which you meet them. Who ever the artist is, when you find them and wow over the work they’ve done and how much you admire their talent, and love their use of colour, or tone, or subject matter, that, usually, isn’t where they started. Ok, they might always have painted flowers, or tigers, or science fiction figures, but those pictures have changed over time, they don’t paint them in the same way, they have evolved from something to something far better. Artists learn all the time. They learn new techniques, or new mediums, or better ways of painting the same thing. Sometimes their best work is in their twenties, or thirties, or forties, or later. They will consider that they did their best work in one decade, and yet others may say it was another one in their life. Art is never a fixed subject, and everyone has an opinion on it, no matter what their knowledge is.

I look back at some of the artwork I’ve done in the past and know its excellent, and look at others I’ve done and know I do it better now. The art isn’t bad art, its just evolved. And some of the work I did years ago is in some ways better than some I do now. But that is because, and I’ve had this conversation with a lot of artists, as you get older your technique tends to get looser. When you’re learning art you think you have to paint every leaf on a tree, every blade of grass in a lawn. As you learn quicker ways of becoming looser, you know you can paint trees without painting all the leaves, you paint the shadows behind the groups of leaves at the front, and you paint the sunlight behind it, and that makes a tree. And then you get to a point where you can paint a picture where some of it is loose, and hinted at, and some of it is tight and extremely detailed. And for me those are the best pictures, when you can show what you can do, and do it well, but know the short-cuts that show that you aren’t an amateur, you are a professional, who knows exactly what you are doing. There is control, and dedication, and technique!

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