Thoughts on painting, from an artist
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  1. #1
    Brushlicker gohkm's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts on painting, from an artist

    Jessica Rich needs no introduction. She penned a short article for a blog on painting, and posted it on Facebook.
    I've shared it here, as it is a good read, and some points she makes deserves to be heard by everyone with an interest in painting.

    http://media.wix.com/ugd/39d5b9_9db2...1505f6adfe.pdf
    Last edited by Dragonsreach; 05-07-2016 at 12:55 PM.
    Models completed in 2016 so far: 16
    Models in WIP: 22

    tp://www.coolminiornot.com/artist/gohkm

  2. #2

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    Interesting. Going between the "do what and how you want" to "give up and gtfo if you are not taking it seriously enough". For me it's pretty far from the Bob Ross "happy accident" style that I like much more.
    At least she is honest on how she feels about it.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  3. #3

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    75 000 hours is obscene. The modern convention is that it takes 10 000 hours of "perfect practice" to become proficient at something that requires mechanical skill like painting, playing an instrument and even performing surgery.

    I do agree that once a hobby/pastime becomes work, it changes your perspective. Some people can adapt to this ideology and some can't. It also depends on ownership. If you own it (like the licensing for your music, for example), it is much more rewarding, both personally and financially.

    The person who wrote this article sounds very bitter about something. It's kind of a turn off to the home hobbyist like me who is just getting into it and enjoying it very much. I have no hopes of it becoming my profession so I guess I'm looking at it very differently.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdlbuildr View Post
    75 000 hours is obscene. The modern convention is that it takes 10 000 hours of "perfect practice" to become proficient at something that requires mechanical skill like painting, playing an instrument and even performing surgery.

    I do agree that once a hobby/pastime becomes work, it changes your perspective. Some people can adapt to this ideology and some can't. It also depends on ownership. If you own it (like the licensing for your music, for example), it is much more rewarding, both personally and financially.

    The person who wrote this article sounds very bitter about something. It's kind of a turn off to the home hobbyist like me who is just getting into it and enjoying it very much. I have no hopes of it becoming my profession so I guess I'm looking at it very differently.
    I'm not bitter. I still very much love the painting aspect of the industry. I do, however, feel that there is a great deal of misinformation regarding the professional aspects of the miniature community, as well as a lack of useful information for painters that have stars in their eyes. I wrote this on a lark, and I know that if you've never met me, it can come across as a bitchy rant. Not at all my intentions.

  5. #5

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    LOL, you didn't come off as bitchy at all. It just sounded like you are very unhappy and that is sad for me to read.

    The artist industry is brutal. It's one of the reasons I didn't become a professional musician.

    I'd really like for you to expand on the whole loaded brush thing!
    Last edited by Mdlbuildr; 05-06-2016 at 08:37 PM.

  6. #6

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    A very deep and truthful account of your painting experience Jessica. Ill have to admit it's not a very warming read for a enthusiastic beginner, but I do agree with many of your thoughts.
    1. 'Painting is a companion with whom one may hope to walk a great part of life's journey.' W. Churchill
    Thank you for asking but I don't do commissions.

  7. #7

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    A good read, it might sound harsh but theres hard truths there highlighting the difference between painting for fun and high end competition or commission painting, they are different beasts. It might sound good to get paid to do something you like doing but in reality it strips you of some or all artistic freedom and slaps deadlines for you to stress about too (not that I am talking from personal experience, more a logical thought process of how I imagine it to be)

  8. #8

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    Ouch.

    Studio work can kill your passion, for sure.

    In art school I knew someone who was a successful artist, in school to pick up new techniques in some classes we shared. This person had gallery representation and was selling successfully, something which is *really* rare.

    But, this person confessed to me one day over coffee, they were really frustrated because one kind of thing they had been playing with was selling really well and the gallery wanted them to keep on making exactly that sort of thing, over and over again.

    I have done work for others on deadlines and I have done work in my own time, following my own interests.

    I have the greatest respect for artists who do work on commission because it clearly is difficult.

    Some people have temperaments well suited to it. Some thrive with deadlines and clear requirements for finished pieces.

    Others, not so much.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdlbuildr View Post
    75 000 hours is obscene. The modern convention is that it takes 10 000 hours of "perfect practice" to become proficient at something that requires mechanical skill like painting, playing an instrument and even performing surgery.
    I suspect the "10,000 hour" story got spread around because people who knew better did not want to scare anyone off with talk of how long it really takes.

    I would not call 75,000 hours really excessive to master a skill.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pygmalion View Post

    I would not call 75,000 hours really excessive to master a skill.

    That's almost ten years of not doing anything but trying to master that skill. No eating, sleeping, showering, going to the bathroom etc.

    Basically that means that even neurosurgeons aren't masters at their art. Their residency is 8 years and they get to sleep a little.

    No wonder she's so miserable!! (I'm kidding)

    Interesting article I found on the 10 000 Hour Rule:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10000-h...-master-skill/
    Last edited by Mdlbuildr; 05-08-2016 at 09:29 AM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mdlbuildr View Post
    That's almost ten years of not doing anything but trying to master that skill. No eating, sleeping, showering, going to the bathroom etc.

    Basically that means that even neurosurgeons aren't masters at their art. Their residency is 8 years and they get to sleep a little.

    No wonder she's so miserable!! (I'm kidding)

    Interesting article I found on the 10 000 Hour Rule:
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10000-h...-master-skill/
    LOL - Well, been painting minis for 15(ish) years. I had a good 5 year stretch where I was putting in 16 hour days 5-6 days a week. I've been painting minis since 2001, and even then I was striving to be like Jen Haley and Anne Foerster. I would paint 3-4 hours a night during the work week, and more on the weekends.

    I am by no means saying that people who haven't logged those hours aren't masters. But, the more you dedicate yourself to something, the better you will be at it. And funnily enough, I have gone days without sleeping and eating. My first Demon Win I had painted for nearly 2 days straight, no sleep, and only 2 pots of coffee and a piece of cheesecake to keep me going. I finished my piece, and drove to Baltimore Games Day after a shower and half hour nap.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by brushmistress View Post
    I had a good 5 year stretch where I was putting in 16 hour days 5-6 days a week.
    ...
    My first Demon Win I had painted for nearly 2 days straight, no sleep, and only 2 pots of coffee and a piece of cheesecake to keep me going. I finished my piece, and drove to Baltimore Games Day after a shower and half hour nap.
    ouch.
    Either of these would be enough to kill all love I have for the hobby.
    Forgot, that it works again.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by brushmistress View Post
    But, the more you dedicate yourself to something, the better you will be at it. And funnily enough, I have gone days without sleeping and eating. My first Demon Win I had painted for nearly 2 days straight, no sleep, and only 2 pots of coffee and a piece of cheesecake to keep me going. I finished my piece, and drove to Baltimore Games Day after a shower and half hour nap.
    I hear what you're saying for sure. There is research going on all the time about time vs. talent. I see it in my work. Some people have a natural gift for something and although others may put in the time, it is very rare that they will be as proficient as the "talented" ones that put in the same amount of time. Time is certainly one aspect, but natural ability can't be overlooked.

    I know that no matter how much time I put into painting miniatures, I will never reach the pinnacle of proficiency for a couple of reasons. I've gotten into it later in life, and I also have a lot of other responsibilities that take away from the time I would need to put into it for supreme proficiency.

    I'm totally okay with that as this isn't a "job" for me. I also have realistic expectations so I am thrilled when I feel I've advanced even a little bit.

    Great discussion, btw.

  14. #14

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    You do not need to put in that many hours I think. It's not the hours per se it's what you learn. I find that I become a better painter sometimes by not painting. I just observe stuff and not painting makes me unlearn stuff, break habits... which is a good way of learning something new and getting another angle on things.

  15. #15

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    Good point, Avelorn. I observe that with my own painting. I do work different on projects these days. When I left the hobby a few years ago I always longed for perfection with every miniature which I clearly couldn't reach. I could reach perfection in one spot or another. But while getting there I would destroy other areas on a miniature. In the end it was frustrating because I tried to work on a level I could not hold on a regular basis.
    These days I am more relaxed about my painting, study different techniques before using them on an important piece. If I feel like going crazy on a miniature I do it. It might work out. It might not. Then it gets stripped or put aside and I move on. This approach is pretty rewarding to me. I get more stuff done, learn quite a lot, paint lots of different miniatures and feel generally more confident about my skills. It is obvious that I am no competitive painter. I do not have the mindset for that. And it is as well obvious that I could never earn all my money by painting for others.

    Another very important point that pushes your skills is analyzing others' works. If you can tell exactly why another painters' miniature is so outstanding you are on the way to incorporate that knowledge into your own work. Then it's going back to train your skills...
    Miniature Exchange. Join the fun!

    Would you mind voting? Here's my Gallery, C'mon ev'rybody!

  16. #16
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    No matter how many hours you put in 75,000 or 10,000 it is the desire to improve to make yourself do better that counts.
    Learn when and how you can, it's not a case of you must learn everything at once, baby steps to learn how to do a specific thing.
    Its taken me years to get to using two brushs and I'm still not anywhere near proficient.

    Overall I think Jessica's discussion on painting is as much to do with the "I Want It Now" attitude as opposed to the more Journeyman/Journeywoman approach people have taken.

    Me, well I'm Sixty and still learning how to improve my painting.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
    , and proud of it.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post

    Me, well I'm Sixty and still learning how to improve my painting.
    I heard someone much wiser than me say at least once: "If you ever think you're done learning, it's time to give up!"

    Even though I have a career that pays my bills, I never stop learning on the guitar even though I've been playing almost daily for 25 years. Now that I've taken up painting miniatures, I know I have so much to learn and improve upon, it'll take years and years!

  18. #18

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    For those of you interested in the 10,000 hours and targeted practice portion of this thread, Freakonomics did a very good podcast last week examining this very topic.

    Zach

  19. #19

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    Yeah, I thought this was a very interesting and insightful article/blog post.

    I think the figure painting community is generally very friendly and supportive to new painters. We're encouraging and that is fantastic. But I also see that it sometimes leads to frustration from people when they're still getting 7's in the gallery and not 9's. Or when they might win a medal at a small local competition and but not win at the big shows which draws painters from all over the country or all over the world. When I read Jessica's post, I feel like it's more directed at those people. I don't think the post is mean or bitter, I just think Jessica is providing some tough love for the painting community. At least that's the impression I got.

    To be honest, if you don't care about awards and gallery scores, then I think you can enjoy painting with just 1 hour of practice. That's one of the wonderful things about art. It's a creative endeavor. Doesn't matter if it's an award winning piece or not, you've made something and can take pride in it. If you put in the time (say, 10,000 hours) and work hard then you can become good at it. And, if you put in even more time (say, 75,000 hours), then maybe you can become great at it and win those top prizes at international competitions.

  20. #20
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bailey03 View Post
    Yeah, I thought this was a very interesting and insightful article/blog post.

    I think the figure painting community is generally very friendly and supportive to new painters. We're encouraging and that is fantastic. But I also see that it sometimes leads to frustration from people when they're still getting 7's in the gallery and not 9's. Or when they might win a medal at a small local competition and but not win at the big shows which draws painters from all over the country or all over the world. When I read Jessica's post, I feel like it's more directed at those people.
    There's truth in this Bailey, I've seen people who in small local competitions have been made to think that they are the "Dog's Danglies", but when they have gone into the larger pool of competitions have seen their dreams shattered.
    Similarly I've watch a parent berate a kid for not doing better in a comp when the kid was only 14 at the most. (Wanted to Tw@t that Arsehole!)
    We on Coolmini are fortunate in that we get to see magnificent figures which over the last 14 years I've been on here have "pushed the envelope" up and up so that the average level of painting is now outstripping stuff from them like a teenager racing me up the stairs.

    I think what Jessica is saying in this blog is that open your eyes to reality we don't get success handed to us on a plate. Hard work, blood, sweat, tears and plenty of practise were her, and still are our, companions on the journey.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
    , and proud of it.

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