Monday, January 27

1000 Painting Decisions

A Mountain Morning
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
7 x 9 in/17.8 x 22.9 cm
Copyright 2013
The headline of today's blog says it all, at least in my case.

I remembered this when I was working on one of my recent paintings. Not that I actually counted, but from the moment I began planning for what I would paint, it was nothing but one decision followed by another and another and another.

I'm hoping you don't think about the decisions as you paint because if you do focus on them rather than the painting itself, well, that's not good.

What motif will I paint? Should I paint en plein air? What surface will I paint on and what size will it be? How should I draw the main elements? Should I try a new medium? Which colors of my palette are best suited to this painting? What brushes should I use? Which brushstrokes? Are the values correct? Should I add something here or make a change there?

What? Which? How? Should? The decision-making even continues right up to the end when you have to decide one of the hardest things--when is the painting finished?

Don't get me wrong. It's nice to be in control of at least one thing in our lives, but it can be overwhelming. I prefer to think of it as problem-solving. Or maybe we should just remember the quote from an unknown art teacher: "A painting is a series of corrected mistakes."


  1. I saw a video by Pablo Picasso, and he said something like that. He would make a mistake he liked and then paint it over, making the mistake intentionally then it was not a mistake.

    1. As a painter, I like Picasso's logic. Thanks for the comment.