Figure Out What You Love and Master It

Mastering Representational Art

It is said that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master a skill.  For many artists that seems like an insurmountable goal but having lived through it and seeing all the sacrifices along the way it is truly necessary if you want to experience your true potential.  I can't speak for other artistic styles besides representational art, nor do I have the desire to.  But if you want to be able to train your eye to see what others do not, down to the minute details of 1% changes in temperature of color it is a must that you embark on this journey.  

Some of you may think, "Sure, easy for you to say, it came easy to you."  You couldn't be more wrong.  I came from the coal region of Northeast Pennsylvania.  There weren't opportunities to study at an academy or any other regimented study of academic realism for me when I was growing up.  I didn't get to pick up my first paintbrush until I was 20 years old and a junior at Penn State University.  Even though there were some great artists there at the time my decision to embark as a representational artist painting figurative art was not supported.  I was even told by someone I really respected during a critique, "If you decide to pursue this type of art you will never succeed."  Try swallowing that in your formative years of artistic development.  Even though I was blessed to later get a scholarship to study in Italy and truly immerse myself in 17th C. Italian Baroque artwork, I felt lost because I had no support.  All I had was my desire to learn to do what I loved.  

It took years for me to shrug all the art school babble bullshit and to start thinking and believing in myself.  Fortunately, I married my soul mate Rebekah.  From the beginning she told me to paint from the heart, and to be honest.  I loved representational art and classical figurative painting.  I empathized with the characters Baroque artists, such as Caravaggio, painted.  I wanted to take that style and make it my own and to create truly great work no matter who judged me for it.   If it takes you 10,000 hours to master the art of painting realism, then I certainly sacrificed for it.  Early on I had to work full time but I would paint sometimes until 2Am or 3AM and then get up at 6Am to go to work.  That time was well spent.  I never gave up no matter who said I couldn't or who told me what I couldn't paint.  Over the years I heard just about every rude comment you could imagine.  I never gave up.  When you love something so deeply you can't give up or you lose a part of you with it.

Twenty-three years later, here I am.  I'm still working towards higher goals and I'm rarely satisfied but that's a good thing.  Today, I get to help young artists who come to me from around the world to study with me and to ask questions that no one else would answer.  That is my great gift from all of that hard work - to give back to others.  I've been there.  I know where you're coming from.  

I hope you enjoy this new blog I've started.  It's been a few years since I've blogged and I really enjoyed the experience.  I hope you'll follow me and that my advice will help inspire and empower you to do great things.