The iconic classical Greek philosopher Socrates wrote, “The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing.” My understanding of the language of art making is always expanding, every time I think I know something and understand it completely I am shown how much more there is to learn.
Painting is as much about patience as practice. It is a slow process of discovery and as long as we are aware of that fact we will see the type of improvement we desire. Those artistic breakthroughs come from persistently pushing our ideas and abilities to their limit.
To do that you must build a visual language and vocabulary, develop fundamental skills through practice and learn to speak with them in a voice that is unique to you. This is a tall order!
It is not about being a perfectionist but about realizing the new challenge that every piece of work creates. I’ve used the expression before about chasing the carrot, maybe “moving the ball forward” or “grabbing the brass ring” would be better idioms/sayings. You get the idea, it is the small increments of success, those little artistic epiphanies, that maybe only you can see in your work which keep you going, it is that process that leads to the next painting.
If I were ever 100% satisfied with a piece, if I did not see something I could improve on or something I could not say better, well I think I would be done. Because I would have stopped progressing as an artist. The language of art and the eye of a painter - is always a work in progress.
Rubik’s Cube, Rock and Bottle, oil on panel, 8 10 inches, © jimserrett
“The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing.” – Socrates
A Mysterious Esoteric Footnote:
I am not sure how many Rubik’s Cube’s I’ve owned over the years, but I have never solved one of them, and I keep trying.
“If you are curious, you’ll find the puzzles around you. If you are determined, you will solve them."-Erno Rubik
Explore - Question - Learn - Enjoy, Jim
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