Self doubt as a painter - Plein air magazine USA

In March 2012 I was featured in the USA Plein air Magazine which I am on on the advisory board for. A great magazine for any painter or art collector, heres what I wrote:

I've just been out painting and have returned back to the studio feeling like everything I've ever learnt has vanished and left my body. Things sometimes
just don't go right but the passion increases and the motivation to produce something better next time doubles.

I paint away furiously for 30mins not noticing that people are watching, tree branches almost hitting me from the trees above, concentrating fully on getting something down before the light changes. It feels amazing and I'm looking at the painting as tho its my best ever, then I stop, turn away, step a few steps back and its not what I saw some 2 minutes ago,why?… you wonder where has that amazing painting has gone, from that point its making amends of all the chaos and errors the painting has thrown at you.

I started my painting career producing photo realistic cars illustrations and portraits, painted with no errors and tonally perfect until I came across plein air painting with a friend Carl Melegari who had been doing it for years. My first attempts where awful which frustrated me hugely put I've carried on pushing it for a few years on until I started to get just a little better. Sometimes I produce paintings that just work and I'm so happy with then other days my confidence is destroyed when everything goes so wrong, those paintings and days however maybe the time when your learning the most from being out there painting.

Many older painters I've painted with say this never goes away, your continuously fighting yourself and I see it while they are painting, getting wound up that the light has changed, cars parking straight in front of you. It knocks you back and forth, emotions all over.

A think of myself as very early in the scale of things plain air with so much to learn, so much to say in my work for the future. Painters just getting into plein air work should know that its so hard to achieve the ideal but to follow the heart and enjoy being outside in the open air and expressing ones self is what its all about. To feel alive when you mix 2 colours and place them next to each other which just radiate in front of you, to seeing that spark of colour in a green field that no one else will ever see and that you have captured.

All good things come with passion, determination and lots and lots of mistakes, so all painters in pain out there never give up.

I was once told by Jim Howie a painter that every mistake you make, turn into a task' something to think upon.

The article can also be read on the Plein air site at www.outdoorpainter.com/editorial/artists-motivated-by-self-doubt.html

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