Inspiration Fridays! Have you thanked your paintings for showing up?

Inspiration Fridays - Have you thanked your paintings for showing up?

Have you thanked your paintings for showing up?

Painting can feel as easy as breathing. But first, we have to let go.

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

When I decided to become a painter, I dove in and fully committed to the idea of mastery. Hours of sketching and drawing evolved into labored painting after painting. The work wasn’t any good, but the process was thrilling. I could tell I was getting better. That feeling of progress was enough to sustain my enthusiasm.

I had learned so much. But painting is truly infinite. I tried balancing everything I knew about painting like spinning plates, keeping each new idea in play. I checked value, color, and composition, and then rechecked. This tenuous dance would more often than not end in a muddled canvas full of longing and finished in frustration. But the real crash never arrived. Even my worst painting inspired a feeling of achievement. I showed up. That counts!

Sometimes it all came together. I would feel that ineffable flood of dopamine that shows up like a surprise. “How did I get here?”
and then…
“I’ve arrived!!”
In these moments every brushstroke lands. Time stops. It’s just me, the model, the brush, and the paint. I don’t check the work to see if it’s any good. I just paint. The colors fall where they will. They just are. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve learned and experienced up until this point. It’s breathing on its own.

During these ecstatic and precarious moments of celebration, all memories of frustration and failure are washed out to sea. I’ve landed it. It’s worth it after all.

And then the waters recede and I’m back to me. But something is different. And I have a painting to prove it.


Inspiration Fridays -  Have you thanked your paintings for showing up? By Gabriel Mark Lipper Acrylic Vinyl on Paper Board

I painted this study of my friend Megan in three 20-minute sessions with 5-minute breaks in the middle. Acrylic Vinyl on paper board. I’ve always loved it.

So where do these high water marks come from? How can we achieve effortlessness? This confidence emerges when we allow ourselves to trust, but that’s easier said than done.

It’s the paintings and drawings that didn’t land, the bad color choices, and paintings without any composition at all that will teach us that we really have nothing to fear.

Harnessing the power of intuition infuses our artwork with emotion, transforming the way we and others perceive it. Art isn’t just about mimicking our surroundings, but diving deeper, and to do this, we need to be fully immersed in the moment. This is when the true essence of our painting starts to emerge.

The key is to embrace what feels right in your work and strive to express your feelings through it. The only way to discover what that is, is to allow yourself the gift of getting it wrong. Why not try painting something that reflects how you feel, instead of aiming for perfection?

Give this approach a try. Paint for 15 minutes without reflecting on whether or not you are doing it right. Try it this week! See what your art can teach you about yourself.

Have you tried doing it wrong?

Have you been surprised when it came out right?

Have you thanked your paintings for showing up?

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