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November 11, 2012


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sue smith

Christine - exactly!

Christine debrosky

Kudos to you for the constant desire to improve on your journey. I think that most of us wish to be the best that we can...it involves constant tweaking without overworking... a real tight rope!

sue smith

Thanks Sandy - and in fairness to my mentor, he was talking about the idea that when we focus intently upon the work of someone like John Singer Sargent, and then compare it to our own style, we risk being blind to what is powerful in our own form of expression by setting impossible standards.

That said, I have seen numerous experts tell students that setting high standards is a pathway to discouragement and failure - and perhaps the beginning artist would find this to be true.

Sandy Merritt

I totally agree with your artist theory. Reaching above and beyond our levels of competence is who we are. I will never stop learning. Thanks for sharing.

sue smith

Maggie - well said!

sue smith

Barbara - thank you. I've always valued artists who could share more than just the basics and I try to pay it forward by raising questions that encourage exploration. I'm glad you didn't *unsubscribe - no longer relevant* !


Sue, thanks for a thoughtful post. All three of these paintings are beautiful, each expressing their own visual logic.

I agree with you *and* with your mentor. Artist's need to be dissatisfied with their work, and always stretching to another level. We look to artists we admire to know what things look like on that level. Yet we need to, at some point, not compare ourselves to other artists, but simply paint. I think that what we've learned from them stays in our hearts and resonates as we work.


Sue, I find the 2nd painting more satisfying than the 1st. It has a cohesion the 1st one seems to lack. I find parts of the 3rd painting positively exquisite.Thank you for sharing your artistic insights. I often find them thought provoking and it is kind of you to give so freely of yourself.

sue smith

Jo-Ann - thank you! My thinking is that the first painting relied on scraping with the palette knife to soften and abstract shapes, but lost connected forms in the process, while the second version is built around purposeful brush marks, and connected masses. The color was also evenly divided between the greens and pinks in version one, and in version two I shifted to a green dominant approach. And of course I could also just be completely wrong!

sue smith

Pat - your observation is very insightful and one I hadn't considered, but certainly worth thought. I agree, the mood did change, and this is sometimes the risk when deciding to rework a painting - we will lose some of what we captured in the initial thought for the sake of trying to further develop the larger idea.

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