Stephen’s four reminders last time were: oil, flooding, holding firm on pricing, and being comfortable when you work. Now it’s my turn to look back on 2011 and also take you forward to the coming year.
1. Racing to trace vs. pacing your tracing
First up, tracing – specifically, what you must do to trace well. I don’t care how many times we mention this because it’s so important. Every week we hear from people whose whole approach has drastically improved – just because they stopped racing to trace and started focusing more on their palette. As Abraham Lincoln said:
If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend two of them sharpening my axe.
Watch here the time it takes to load and shape your brush. When you do this properly, you improve your tracing straight away.
2. Magic bullets
I also like the honesty of Stephen’s approach right here. The point is, sometimes the secret of improving our skill isn’t found in buying something else but in simply making do with what you have right now. That’s why Stephen and I mostly work with just a few good brushes like these.
For my next point, I plan to cheat – I want to remind you of something Stephen wrote in 2010. It’s more relevant than ever because some kinds of money (note the emphasis: some kinds, not all) are scarcer than ever. And in my view, that’s a good thing on the whole.
You see, I don’t like grant-dependency. I think it’s undignified.
Yes, I’ve changed my view with time. When I was a student, I thought grants were great. And I remember I was outraged when a lecturer told me “a grant-dependent artist was no more an artist than a prostitute was a girl-friend”. I don’t mean this language to offend you; I just want to make my point. Back then, 30 years ago, I thought my lecturer was outrageous and reactionary. Now I just think she was giving me good advice about standing on my own two feet. Time and again, I’ve seen the temptation of public money diverting time from making and wasting it on form-filling. Here’s one example, a cautionary tale. (Bureaucrats and vampires – I’ve yet to spot a difference.)
4. Another cost of silver stain
I cannot greet the New Year without reminding you how, if you continue using water or vinegar with silver stain, then, no matter how long you clean them, the stain will eat your brushes and corrode your palette knife. It’s going to happen, and it’s going to cost you money.
Which is another reason we don’t mix stain with water or vinegar.
Rather we use oil; the good thing for our brushes and knives is that oil-based stain does not corrode them. This saves you a whole lot of time and money. Mind you, that’s just a side-benefit. The main benefit is, stain and oil work beautifully together. See here for a demo about how convenient it is to stain with oil, and here for another demo where you see how reliable it is.
And that’s all for today – more next week
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