How to Decide What to Paint

00:01 Hey there. I had a conversation with one of my students this week that I just had to share because it’s one I’ve had with so many students, so I think maybe you’ll be able to relate. What she asked me about was finding something to paint that inspired her. She was really struggling with that. She was looking for the perfect spot, the perfect place. If you ever done that, the trouble is there is no such thing as the perfect spot. Have you ever watched a whole bunch of plein air painters at a paint out, all rushing around trying to find the prime place to paint. In reality, the best place to paint is the place where you are right now. Don’t wait around for the perfect spot or the perfect photograph. The perfect fill-in-the-blank with whatever.

01:03 Instead, try this, what’s right in front of you. Most of the time you don’t need to go find that perfect spot or need to find the perfect subject. You just need to paint. So instead of looking for inspiration somewhere else, look right in front of you. Look and see what’s right there. Don’t wait for perfection. Just get started.

01:29 Avoid the predictable, and counteract the expected. You want to avoid the predictable. What I mean by that is that you don’t want to do the cliched subject. You want to do something that is a little bit different and that might mean that you take a different perspective. You get up above it; you get below it; you get from a funky angle. You look at it in a little bit different way. Or you get up close to it or you pull way far back away from it, but you avoid the stereotypical view of it.

02:11 The other thing that you can do is to make sure that where ever you are that you’re looking for interesting value patterns because you can find that in the most mundane subject. In fact, I’m going to show you. Let me see if I can turn my camera around here. I have a little hair clip. I have just a mason jar sitting here on the table. You could make an interesting painting of that mason jar as long as you look for interesting value relationships, interesting value and color patterns.

02:53 It’s not just the subject matter; it’s what you do with it. And think about how those value patterns and the color masses are created by the light. When you do that, you can make anything look interesting because truth of the matter is everything is interesting.

03:14 It’s the attention you pay to it that makes it interesting. You can paint whatever is around you. And those of you who are in CATCH THE LIGHT, let me turn just a little bit. You’ll recognize the edge of that building and the streetlight that’s right up there because that’s one of the modules in the course.

04:08 So it doesn’t have to be something grand, something elaborate, or something extraordinarily outstanding. You can make it that just by what you do with it.

What’s the Main Key to Becoming a Successful Artist?

What do we mean by being a success in art?

In this video I talk about the key to becoming a successful artist.

The key to that question is knowing what success means to you. You can’t create a success path unless you know what success means for you. Otherwise you won’t have any idea of where you’re going or how to get there.

So let’s dive in and look at what goes into creating a success path that’s in alignment for you.

Know your why and don’t be afraid to own it!

Three Myths About Being Successful As An Artist

Three Myths About Being Successful As An Artist

There are three keys to consistently making art that you love, that feeds your soul, as well as having an impact on the world.

So in order to have that sustained, sustainable, creative practice, you need to build a solid painting practice. You need to develop an engaged audience and you need to nurture a sustainable creative mindset.

I talked about the first a good bit last week.

The second is what I’m going to talk about today, and that is to build an engaged audience.

I’m going to be focusing entirely on that engaged audience component.

There are three myths about being successful as an artist that I want to debunk because they lead directly to a lot of people not being able to do that.

A Painter’s Life

See Through
an Artist’s Eyes!

Come along with me as I chase light, color, and clouds across the landscape.

In my latest adventure I’ve been deep in the SC Lowcountry, creating a new collection of paintings.

Join me on this journey and get sneak peeks (~ 3x/ week) and a special VIP preview of the new collections when they're released!

Winter Sunset, Minervaville // SOLD

Winter Sunset, Minervaville // SOLD

“Winter Sunset, Minervaville”, oil, 5 x 7”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Winter Sunset, Minervaville”, oil, 5 x 7”, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

$325 (unframed) + $15 shipping

Today is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night.

Winter Solstice.

I love the winter light, but not the cold, so I’m celebrating the return of the light.

And lots more beautiful winter light before the return of spring.