Michael Divine

Some Things I Swear By

Someone wrote to me and asked:

I was wondering if you’re using any mediums to get that look and are there any techniques that you swear by?

1. Paint every day at the same time. Ideally give yourself a 3 hr window. But maybe it’s just 2. Or 1. But still: show up every day. Same time. Same spot. Some days you’ll fill the whole 3 hrs and want to keep going. Other days maybe you’ll eke out one good hour of painting. That’s ok. Just keep showing up. Keep doing it. No matter what, pick up that brush. It’s so easy to get distracted. Sometimes you have to force yourself. It’s work! (Of a sort). But keep at it. Every day.

2. Don’t be afraid to paint over stuff with washes (thin layers of water + pigment) – the world is awash in color and layers of atmosphere and reflected light. And sometimes you just have to paint over a thing all together. Don’t get attached to it.

3. Always have a sketch book to jot down ideas, doodle, just draw random stuff you see. BEING an artist isn’t just about some exalted painting on a wall. It’s about expressing that art in the tiny pen drawings or even just taking mental notes on random color associations, a line here, a curve there.

4. And finally on that note: try to notice every thing: the angle of light on someones face in a movie, the sweep of a highway overpass, the way the morning light passes thru the leaves of a tree outside your door, the warp and woof of politics, the feeling you have when [_____] and so on. All of sensations. And then, when it comes to creating, practice grabbing one or two oe 20 of those sensations and exploring that.

Those are some of the things I swear by. 🙂

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