Ideas Interests Notes
New ideas and interests will make you a better painter.
How open are you to new ideas? Being open to new ideas and subjects will make you a better painter. Artists often have a bad habit of insular thinking. They get comfortable. They get very good at the painting style, brushwork, and subjects they have done for years. All of their friends are other artists and all of their social activities are art related.
I think this is a big mistake. I think the more variety you have in ideas, interests and the more open you are to studying new subjects and methods, the fresher your work will be. Many of my friends are not artists. I like a variety of subjects including science, nature, history. I like to learn about physics, law, business, etc from friends. I am lucky to know many very smart and gifted people who are not artists.
I learned some time ago that it is ok to like a variety of ideas and interests without being able to actually participate in them. When I was young, I thought I needed to do what I was interested in. I bought a potters wheel, because I had taken ceramics in art school. I soon found that it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I like looking at flowers, but I hate the actual gardening. I like bonsai , but don’t have the patience to grow them. I love motorcycles, but I’m too short to drive one. I read about physics and science but I don’t have a brain for science and math. I have become a hobby naturalist, but couldn’t be a certified naturalist. None of those issues keep me from enjoying a variety of subjects from a distance. We don’t have to be good at things we enjoy.
I am a professional, art degreed painter. That is my profession and I need to be good at that to make a living. All of my away from art interests stimulate my imagination and give me new ideas to keep me excited about painting every day. Many of my painting studies are limited to three or four paintings of a subject, before moving on to other new subjects, or back to the subjects I adore for years. Doing a few paintings of subjects I don’t know helps me to stretch and grow, adding to my knowledge base.
I am always astounded by painters who say they can’t think of anything to paint! After 60 years of painting, I feel there is never enough time to do all the paintings I want to do. I believe my mind is eager to work at the easel because I am never bored and constantly stimulated by new ideas, people and interests.
Step outside of the safety zone you have built for yourself as a painter. Don’t be afraid to do bad paintings in order to learn new things. The growing pains will improve your work in the long run and give you confidence. Inviting non artist friends into you life will give you new ideas and provide you with new collectors.
Try mediums you are not used to. Change brushes, palette colors, canvas sizes and orientation just for the fun of painting and learning. Make painting fun and you will never be bored.
More musings for artists and collectors to come…..
Pan Seared Pork Chops
3 tablespoons olive oil 2 (12-oz.) bone-in pork chops 1 teaspoon table salt 3/4 teaspoon black pepper 2 cups cherry tomatoes (about 8 oz.) 1 large fennel bulb, cut into wedges, fronds reserved 1 bunch fresh thyme 2 garlic cloves, crushed 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper, and add to hot oil. Sear pork chops until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side, lightly searing the sides to render some of the fat. Transfer pork chops to a plate.
Add tomatoes, fennel, thyme, and garlic to skillet over medium; toss to combine. Cook, scraping skillet to loosen browned bits, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard garlic. Place pork chops on top of vegetable mixture, and roast in preheated oven until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chops registers 145°F and vegetables are tender, 6 to 10 minutes.