A few days ago, I finished the first out of 4 blocks of my realistic oil painting course. I have been amazed how quickly my work has evolved by using the prescribed step-by-step approach. I have enjoyed learning to achieve the illusion of three-dimensionality just using paint.
However, working in a new way is exhausting. I have to learn a new vocabulary and a different way of working. Each small oil painting takes 3 to 4 hours of focussed attention. Instead of going with the flow and seeing what emerges, I now have to think through every step of the painting process even before I pick up a paint brush.
It sometimes feels that I have moved to a foreign country... I used to know my way around town and how to quickly get from A to B. Now I have no clue where to find what I am looking for. Every journey seems to take forever; I frequently have to stop and ask for help in a new language. On top of that, I am required to dress differently. My beloved jeans and T-shirt have been replaced with a freshly laundered and ironed uniform, my Doc Martins with Stilettos. So when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I do not immediately recognize my own reflection...
So I long to replace the high heels with comfy shoes, and I am tempted to look for shortcuts – but I remind myself that expanding my wardrobe and vocabulary will give me more choices in future.
If you are usually working in a precise and controlled manner but would like to learn to play and loosen up, I can highly recommend Nicholas Wilton's Creative Visionary Program. It's not too late to sign up for his free workshops which start on Monday, 13th February - here is a sign-up link for the workshops.