Ignorance IS Bliss!

Like most artists, when I first started painting I grabbed a couple brushes and a few tubes of paint and gave it a go. It was great fun just trying to paint something and seeing how it came out. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do, and through trial and error I was able to create something that made me happy. Other people responded well, so I kept at it.

As I continued to paint I started wanting to learn more, to overcome challenges I was having. So on to the internet, websites, blogs, artist pages, and YouTube.

Well. It didn’t take long before I started learning how to mix colors. Cool.

Then, I started learning that I should be paying attention to values. So, more videos, more blogs, more learning. And then, composition. I needed to plan my paintings better to have better composition. Then edges, and blending. Color temperature, brush handling, techniques, etc. etc. etc.

Soon enough I found myself with a dizzying list of things I needed to know, and practice, in order to be “good”. What was once a fun way to splash color on a canvas became a bit intimidating.

I was reminded of this today talking to another artist. He was saying how sometimes when he sits down to paint he starts worrying about the details and loses sight of the big picture. He, like me, would focus on one part of the painting trying to get it right.

Art is a never ending journey of discovery and learning. No matter how good you get, there is more to learn, to try, to do. I have found that over time, some things become easier, second-nature, without as much thought. Which is good – because the list of things to know, to practice, and to learn keeps growing.

Sometimes I think the most experienced artists may be out trying to capture that initial joy of ignorantly putting down color and seeing how it comes out. The trick, for me, is to remember how far I have come, not focus on how far I have to go. And it’s still quite a thrill to try something new, or even something I have done a hundred times, and have the result surprise me.

Focus on the surprises, the successes, however small. In painting, and in life, they keep us moving forward! Don’t worry about what you don’t know. Ignorance is, indeed, bliss!

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