Letting Go

Plein Air Evergreen, 8 x 10, Oil on Linen, © Beth Cole

Plein Air Evergreen, 8 x 10, Oil on Linen, © Beth Cole

Once I read some advice that has always stuck with me and that is “Let go of the good so you can say yes to the best.”

So simple, right? But harder to do in real life.

I have always struggled with too many ideas and rabbit trails. When I first started painting I tried everything - watercolor, mixed media, encaustic, jewelry making, wooden things, acrylic, pastel, etc. I’m tired just thinking of it all. And you know each of these media had special tools and supplies, so imagine the “stuff” I amassed. Sheesh. My poor little art room was over run!

All this to say I believe these explorations and techniques are all good in and of themselves, but not good all at once. It’s too much.

Even within my genre of oil painting, there are so many specialties - figurative, portrait, wildlife, abstract, etc. You get what I mean.

I think we become way better at our craft when we learn to let go - loosen the grip as it were.

For me that means limiting the subject matter I choose to paint - for the time being anyway. I mean this in a broad sense, i.e. I am not likely to specialize in abstract or florals - it’s not my time for that. (But I still love figures and portraits - not letting go of those yet!).

It also means being selective about how I learn. I want to let go of the options that steer me away from painting from life to create studio paintings, and say yes to opportunities to strengthen my skill and focus.

It also means letting go of art supplies that don’t fit into the focus. I know, I know - so hard! After all, we might need it someday! But it has been my experience that purging your space ala Kon Mari style, can be so liberating. It gives energy! And we need all the energy we can get, right?

So these are my ideas of letting go. What have you tried to simplify and let go?

Thanks for keeping me company on this journey. For you, I am quite grateful.

Soli Deo Gloria