Painting is nothing and everything at the same time. Taking color from nature and making it real onto the canvas. Making something from nothing. It can be considered magical or impossible. Being human makes it possible for us to do a painting or anything creative at that.
I visited the highest point of Lambertville, a park with a road called “Goat Hill”. Walking through the forest on a trail, I could reach the top of the hill in just half an hour from my house. I took pics of the vista. Looking at the beautiful valley with the Delaware River cutting through it like a knife. The Autumn foliage adds all kinds of warm colors to it. I knew I had to paint this scene. I used an unusual dimension size because squares are fun and unique sizes to do. I wanted to have a warm underpainting and painted reds and oranges before adding some greens for the trees.
The sun was starting to set and took the sunset highlights and added shades of blue all over the sky. It seems that I’m enjoying painting the simplicity of a scene without overdoing it on color and texture, it’s allowing me to paint faster and to have the colors more crisp and deliberate. This was a fun challenge to do. I’m always curious about where this painting will lead to next.
There are things in life that never change regardless of modern societal trends. Especially when I’m referring to the human senses. Walking in the forest during the peak of the Autumn season or the fragrance of the food from the local market. The simple pleasures of life still hold value because it is part of our most important currency, which is time. What to do with your time is entirely up to you. We all get 24 hours a day to choose how to fill our lives up. Would we appreciate our own time if we kept track of it? There goes three hours on Facebook or two hours at the bookstore. Should we keep track of time to use it wisely. Unlike money, we will never get the time back. However, if we invest wisely, then perhaps our time will become more valuable to our future. I have never really thought much about the future, I have to admit. I can remember being in my 20’s or 30’s and never really thinking much of what life would be like in my 40’s or later. Maybe doing my art has allowed me the luxury to value the present much more than the future? Or is it wiser to keep one eye on the present and one for the future?
Animals have figured this out without even analyzing it. They live in their own universe and march to the beat of their own drum. They only live for their moment. The present is really all they have. There’s no planning for the future. If we share so many characteristics such as love, survival, and emotions and are still attached to our primitive nature, then living like the animals in this respect isn’t such a bad idea? I understand that the brains are rewired differently between humans and animals, and we have different capabilities in process and distributing information. I don’t see anything wrong with planning for the future, just as long as you are living in the present. And that might even be too much to ask for in our human world. What do you think?
Which brings me to painting animals. There is a spirit about them worth painting that I don’t see when painting landscapes. Perhaps you’re not just painting a living, breathing being, but their whole universe in their eyes. Hard to do if you’re just painting a bridge. If the bridge has a soul, then it’s the person who designed the bridge that gave it a soul. We exist because nature exists, so I understand why landscape painting is so important. We paint because we yearn for a connection with other beings and places. Without it, our lives become disconnected and too solitary. That’s not what I want. I have always painted to connect with something that connects with my own soul.
If I enjoy painting animals and hopefully getting better at it, then I must be making some kind of connection with it. Sometimes I surprise myself how good a painting turns out. But the only shortcut is truly developing your skills as an artist, from my own personal experience, is to keep putting in the time. Add some love and passion to your subjects and your work will see the results you desire. That’s the closest formula I could figure out. I’m designing an art course that speaks closest to the heart of an artist and shows you how to not only paint but to have faith in the process. To experience some of the realities of an artist will help you understand what it takes in becoming a damn good one. Sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be among the first to experience the art life from a working artist.
Until then, make your time count. Just 24 hours at a time.
- written by Joshua Lance, 4/26/2019
What do you think of when you’re in nature? Trees, skies, animals? The feeling you get when you’re outdoors is something you really can’t put into words as much as feelings. For this painting, it starts with isolation. Most of my landscapes have always been about isolation because that’s the way my life has felt for so long. Though I work with and hang around people often, I still feel isolated quite a bit. And perhaps that’s a good thing, it’s never as negative as it sounds. To experience isolation on a physical level, you need to get away from it all. Such as a forest for starters. You need to hear the voices of nature outside your head. Make sure they’re LOUDER then what’s in your head. And just listen. That’s it. No big, long books to read or videos to watch. You must allow yourself the time to decompress and empty out the dirty water that’s in your head. Replace it, like a blood transfusion. To cleanse your mind. Do it as much as possible. Maybe you’ll become like that deer in my most recent commission.
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