You know, the “Old Same Thing”!
Do you have a limit for doing the same old thing, don’t you get tired of it? How long can you keep repeating the same old routine before it becomes just that?
I’ve done it before, and still do at times. I could eat PB&J’s for lunch on a daily basis forever. I love them! Or maybe it’s going to work
everyday going to the corner taking a left, then a right at the stop sign, go to the light, take a right enter the freeway and off to the office. Over, and over, and over again. How many days a week? The only time you vary it is when you hear of an accident along the route during the 8:09 traffic report. Hey-hey, there’s variety!
When it comes to me and the world of art, do things get repetitive for me? Maybe, yes, how about you? I see some people paint the same scene over and over, same size, same time of day, same conditions. They do it as learning experiences, and I know I could benefit greatly from doing something like this, but I don’t see it happening.
I am a co-founder and director of the Brush Creek Art Walk: plein air competition, and each year we ask artists to paint along a creek that cuts through the upscale urban shopping district of the Country Club Plaza, and meanders past my favorite place in Kansas City, the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Don’t stop here, there is more painting to be done farther East as you cut through the older neighborhoods where you could say, okay I will say, “urban blight?” Yet you’re not done yet, there’s maybe another mile and a half of sprawling park like areas with rolling hills, woods, and a lake. There really is a lot to see down this way, the entire way! I think it’s pretty darn diverse, with interesting subjects that could last a lifetime.
But that’s just me.
What I hear and what I see a lot is people talking of how repetitive things are, they come back year after year painting the same old thing, and I can really feel for them. I don’t enjoy people being unhappy with a situation. I try to be accommodating, but there is a reason that the city approached Anne Garney and me about finding a way to get people down to along the creek. The city over the past 10-15 years has spent millions, upon millions of dollars improving the area, solving the flooding problem of the local businesses and residences, and at the same time beautifying the entire area…
…but nobody knows.
It has a not so endearing nickname, “Flush Creek!” Not a real pretty picture that title paints. It’s not so bad if the rains come, but on long dry spells no water moves, and flotsam gathers here and there, and there.
The thing about a good artist, they can paint what they want, not what is there. Sit me down in the same spot 10 times in a row and I doubt I paint the same scene more than once. Would I paint the debris, and urban blight? Sure if the light hit it right!
I notice that many people paint the exact same thing, without even thinking about it. We are attracted to the obvious, and many tend to paint this. You see a big red truck in front of you; most will paint the big red truck. Mix it up by painting the way the big red trucks shadow stretches off across the ground, or the cool patterns that the tail lights make when you zoom in really close.
It’s not really what you see, it’s how you see it, and then maybe more importantly, how you put it to canvas. I do love seeing how a few
dozen artists paint the exact same object; it is amazing and quite the learning experience to me the viewer. But artists and buyers alike do get bored with this over time.
There is so much to see in this little area, one could spend a lifetime doing just that. Look at the great Wilbur Niewald, he has been going to Loose Park and painting there for decades. You have the constantly changing light and seasons, this is what makes this world as wonderful and interesting as it is, and affects everything we see outdoors.
A good artist should be able to make or create interest when there is none. Don’t just look for what is already beautiful, find what could be beautiful and make it so. You are the creator, take control.
What is one of the best ways of learning something? REPETITION! Are you so good that this doesn’t apply? Let me shake your hand, as I scrape that last painting and start all over.
It’s a mind set, look for something new, a new approach, don’t get trapped into doing the same old thing the same old way, improve, enhance, and embrace the opportunity…
…over and over again!