This past week I attended a plein air workshop led by artist Mark Mehaffey at Interlochen Center for the Arts. It was a terrific workshop and I learned much from Mark's demonstrations, one-on-one instruction and casual conversations. I am excited to put all this new knowledge to work out in the field and in my studio. As I reflect on this experience I realize that I need to continue to put in what Mark terms "brush miles." I realize that I am at a point where I have learned an incredible amount about watercolor painting, and I will continue to learn for the rest of my life. But that knowledge and learning won't do me any good if I don't continue to paint. So, no matter how crazy life gets I am determined to keep up the secret of painting--- "Hard Work."
Another quote from Mark this week, "The only rules in painting are the ones you make for yourself." I really thought about this-- what rules am I adhering to that I should break or discard to move forward with my art? What new rules should I try out or make? Mark challenged me to make quick, loose, confident brush strokes in watercolor. I found that the shorter painting 20-30 minutes were a lot more fresh free, and very fun to paint. The ones I labored over more didn't really excite me. As I continue to plein air paint I would like my paintings to be free and loose, and this is one of those instances where putting a time limit on the painting process really helps.
I would highly recommend Mark Mehaffey as instructor to anyone interested in water media and/or plein air painting. I might just take the workshop a second time!