On painting outdoors and more: Today we tip our hats to Lyn Boyer, who shared an inspirational post recently with the Oil Painters of America on why we try to rush toward greatness, even though we all know that time is an essential ingredient to mastering anything that’s worthy. See what she has to say about this topic, and be inspired.
From “8 Seconds” by Lyn Boyer
Pin this on your wall. It’s your license to learn. I’m giving you permission . . . right now . . . to slow down. We’ve become victims of speed. “How many paintings did YOU get done today??” A better question: What did you feel about the place you chose to paint today? Someone once asked me, “What do you paint?” An innocent enough question, but I knew that they were asking what “things” do you paint. Do you paint landscapes? Do you paint cats? I didn’t say anything for a while because I wanted to give them an honest answer. I finally said, “I paint what I love.” And you can’t love something in a hurry. It takes time.
Okay let’s talk about speed. You’re watching the Olympics. You see a skier totally shred a slalom course at a billion miles an hour carving a perfect line as you hear them give the smack down to each gate. It’s INSPIRING. It’s so inspiring you run out and buy skis (probably the wrong ones) and a lift ticket. You dump yourself off at the top of a Double Black Diamond and with every cell of your being, every ounce of your will, every deep desire of your heart you decide to just “express yourself” with wild abandon. You launch yourself over the edge. You are carried down in a stretcher. Do I need to say it. You see a great painter. You are INSPIRED. You buy a bunch of stuff. You launch yourself at your canvas to express yourself with wild abandon. You’re carried out on a stretcher.
I’ve been asking myself a question for the past couple of years. Why do we as painters sometimes try to “cheat the gods” — meaning, try to shred the gnar without the chops — when athletes and musicians would never dream of it, because they clearly know if they do, they will end up dead, in the hospital, or humiliating themselves on stage at Carnegie Hall. As painters we can cheat because:
1. We’re not going to poke an eye out with a paint brush if we do piles of paintings showing zero improvement.
2. We can always find someone who doesn’t want to hurt our feelings to tell us we’re brilliant.
3. We can find a show to enter that gives out so many ribbons they’re pretty much participation awards.
For us, there are no life-threatening consequences. Except maybe to our soul. Then one day we look in the mirror and say, “How’s that workin’ out for ya?” We get a fire in the belly that drives us to find another way. We wake up and start working our butts off to conquer the skills that have bucked us off a hundred times. We never give up, and we let out a battle cry that echoes off the canyons the day we stick it — the day we stay on for the eight seconds and hear the buzzer. Now THAT makes life sweet and imbues our paintings with a power that speaks to our audience . . . (continue reading on the Oil Painters of America blog)
Bonus Art From Lyn Boyer
I want my paintings to be the most honest, raw, and immediate response to the scene I put on canvas. I complete them in one to three hours, depending on whether a cloudburst is about to dump on me or getting struck by lightning becomes a possibility. I typically don’t touch the plein air paintings at all after bringing them back to the studio unless there is something very obvious that needs a quick correction.