Over the years, I’ve developed certain habits that really helped me out in life. There’s an old saying that you can’t get rid of a habit. Rather, you need to replace it.
You’ll be successful in life if you develop good habits. Keep in mind, habits don’t have to be a bad thing. Unfortunately, the word habit has a negative connotation. If you have a habit of putting 10% of every paycheck into an investment account, over a period of twenty years, you’ll have a decent sized chunk of money. That’s an example of a good habit.
Another good habit would be waking up and going for a walk. Imagine if you did that every day. For one, you’d be in pretty decent shape. For another, I bet you’d be happier than the majority of your peers.
When my wife and I went on an Alaskan cruise, I’d wake up at 7AM every morning and immediately walk around the ship twice. Some lady in her 70s every morning would pass my ass up. And I walk pretty fast so that’s doubly saying something.
I got a chance to talk to her one day and you know what? She loved life! I mean, really really loved life. Surprise surprise.
Painting the same painting twice
I always paint the same painting twice. I have an idea. Then, I execute it.
If it turns out fantastic, I’ll keep it and paint a similar painting. If it turns out awful, I’ll paint it one more time. Unless it’s not the execution that failed. If the idea itself was awful, I’ll scrap it and call it a loss.
I’ve heard successful football teams will run a play until the defense figures out how to stop it. Then, they’d change it to something else and keep trying different plays until they found one the defense struggles with. And once again, they’ll start running that play until the defense figures out how to stop it.
Same concept? Well, similar at least.
Of course I don’t ever want to be boring either. So I’m going to mix it up a lot. I’ll do two with water at night. Then do two straight ones in a cave. Or something like that. You could change the setting, the time, the colors, the subjects, the theme. There’s really no limit to what you can do in painting.
Here’s an example of two paintings that turned out good
These paintings are pretty much the same painting. I painted the first one of Roxy and liked it so much that I wanted to do the same painting with Allie. Same colors. Similar concept. Different models. But let’s be real – it’s almost the same painting.
I painted Midnight Bather first. I loved how it turned out. So, I decided to paint the same painting again, but adding a volcano. I also changed how the moonlight reflected off the water.
Priestesses of Pele is physically bigger. And it’s a better painting since I got more comfortable with both those brand new colors (to me) and the concepts.
The Mucha homages
I’m doing this again with my homage to Alphonse Mucha. I’m a huge fan of his Mucha Girls paintings. I actually love Art Nouveau. It had a look to it, so natural, so real. Art Nouveau intentionally mimicked nature and you’ll see flowers and leaves and twigs everywhere throughout their art.
Antoni Gaudí and Alphonse Mucha are my two favorite Art Nouveau artists. My wife and I got to see a lot of Gaudí’s works in real life in Barcelona, including his infamous Sagrada Família. We didn’t go inside though because the line was ridiculously long that day. I know that would almost sound like sacrilege to some folks, but if you knew my personality, you’d know how Type A I am. I can’t stand still for that long.
Back to these two homages, you could tell the second one is better than the first. I looked at what I got right and duplicated it. Her face in the first one is slightly hard. I did a few changes in the second one to soften her face. I wanted her to be really pretty like Mucha Girls.
Dissecting old songs
I still practice guitar every day. I love picking up my guitar and just playing.
Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of cover songs and also wrote a lot of my own. This morning, I started playing a song I wrote back in 1992. It’s not a good song. It has some good parts, but it’s not a good song.
But, I’ve ripped out the good parts and put them into other songs.
You’re allowed to do that with both music and art. Take what’s good from your previous works and recycle them.
You’ll see a lot of artists doing just that. They’ll have a piece of a painting where you’ve seen that same thing in another work of theirs. Or five.
There’s nothing wrong with using a good idea multiple times. Like Goya went through his black period. Picasso went through his blue period which was nearly monochromatic.
I do the same with paints. I’ll use the same colors multiple times in a row.
Luckily for me, Allie and Roxy have very similar skin tones. In fact, I don’t even change the mixes. I’m using the same skin tone mix for both of them. That’s the commonality you’ll see in all my paintings. (Well, there’s more than one, but that’s one of them).
Also, Allie always wears two gold 70s Wonder Woman styled bracelets on her left wrist in my paintings and Roxy always wears a gold necklace, usually with a gem. I’ve adopted those two things as simply part of my style.
If you don’t know what to paint next..
So if you don’t know what to paint next, try painting a previous painting. Make a goal that it needs to be better than the previous one.
Chances are, you’ll improve upon it. For one, you’ve already done it so you already know you’re capable of doing it. For another, you can do a quick glance at the painting and see what you’d like to improve the second time around.