Oil on canvas panel, 8×6″
I think I’m finally making a little progress with my oil painting. I’m starting to understand about color temperature and how to make transparent darks (which you absolutely have to protect just like the white of the paper in watercolor). I couldn’t figure out how to get the little highlights on these lemons but maybe I have to wait for the paint to dry and then use a dry brush to sweep across it. Or maybe I could do it with a knife? I tried painting it on with a brush but just kept smearing and muddying the paint. Any suggestions?
In July, I did these lemons on a different green glass plate and …
…I think I see some progress.
My friend Judith told me about a learning theory that divides the stages of learning into four stages:
- Unconscious incompetence .(You don’t know how much you don’t know and sometimes have beginner’s luck that makes it seem like it will be easy to learn).
- Conscious incompetence. (Now you’ve realized how much you don’t know and how bad you are at the thing you’re trying to learn, and how many people are way ahead of you. You may have the knowledge or information about HOW to do something but not the skill to do it.) A lot of people give up at this point. This is where I’ve been for past couple months.
- Conscious competence. (You understand how to do it, you’ve practiced and built some skill, but it doesn’t come naturally. You have to think through each step but you can do it and a basic level.)
- Unconscious competence. (It just comes naturally and you don’t have to constantly think through each step.)
Mom was half-right when she said “practice makes perfect.” I know that when I strive for “perfect” I only end up miserable. I think the saying should be “Practice makes Progress” and right now progress feels great after being mired in Conscious Incompetence for months!
18 replies on “Conscious Competence?”
I like those four steps. I’d never thought of it like that, but I think it’s true and makes perfect sense. These are good lemons, Jana, well done. I like the reflected light up into the underside. Regarding the highlight, a feather light touch with a soft brush will do it – even “wet into wet” as we say in watercolor. Use a heavy bristle brush and it’s impossible!
Every day I try to chart my next steps based upon my areas of weakness. I don’t let myself get overwhelmed by them. Rather, I feel pleased that I’ve identified areas to study because that’s the first step to growth and mastery. So maybe I’ll think – hmm, I could really work on tree branches/architectural details/reflected light/whatever. I’ll do some how-to research, look at other fine art examples from masters, make some notes, practice, self-critique. Wash, rinse, repeat, indefinitely. As long as I make some progress, no matter how infinitesimally small, I am never discouraged. And so it goes.
I think the latest lemon painting is astonishing. I love the way you’ve incorporated the blue. As for white highlights, they are usually done at the end when the paint is dry. You can then use a large brush if you want to but make sure there isn’t very much paint on the brush so that it can drag across the surface. I’m the opposite to you, I’m struggling with the watercolour techniques as it behaves in such a different way to oils and acrylics. (which I’m used to)!
boy, those 4 steps really resonate with me. Thanks for sharing them. I’m swinging between 3 and 3 at the moment, but it’s taking a long time to move forward. Congratulations on your progress. I love the colours in the first lemon painting, but i do see that the second is a step forward.
beautfiul, i love them both.
OH HON! YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE PROVERBIAL HEAD — PRACTICE MAKES PROGRESS!! I LOVE IT!!! AND SO SO TRUE, ESPECIALLY AFTER THIS W/E!!! THANK YOU FOR SUCH WISE AND TIMELY WORDS!!!! I THINK YOUR OILS ARE GLORIOUS, JANA — AND YOU HAVE PROGRESSED, IN MY EYES, AT LIGHTNING SPEED …. GLORIOUS, CARA .. SIMPLY GLORIOUS!
I haven’t been to your blog in a while.. I enjoyed looking at your beautiful work!
Glorious, love the teal and lemon combination and yes you are excelling at oil, but no surprise there you are sooooo talented! (and persistent 😉
Jana, these lemon paintings are wonderful. I really like your choice of glass. I think yellow, blue and greens make wonderful compositions together. Nice job!!
Your lemons are simply gorgeous and the colors are stunning together. You just keep getting better and better.
Great job! Practice does make a difference but I do like both paintings.
You are so right about those 4 steps!
I think your lemons look great and like Karen says, it only needs that last softest touch. The colours are beautiful and fresh and your darks are “light and transparent…great work!
I’ve also heard the stages of learning as:
1) You don’t know what you don’t know
2) You know what you don’t know
3) You know what you know
4) You don’t know what you know (ie. you become so proficient you aren’t consciously aware of it.)
You lemons are lovely.
That it sounds like a pickup line, doesn’t it? 😉
or maybe…”Hey, Baby, great lemons you’ve got there!” I do like this painting a lot. The colors are so fresh and airy. What really strikes me though, about this one is the wonderful brush work. I really love the strokes here. Beautiful touches.
It’s so wonderful asking for help and having it pour in, along with some great laughs. What a hoot about the pickup lines. Thanks for the great advice about highlights, and learning in general. THanks!
Thanks Jana for a really thought provoking post. I’m at no 2 with watercolours and have sort of given up – a temporary break anyway – but this is so hopeful. Practice makes progress is so much more attainable and realistic. Practice makes perfect seems to have failure in-built into it!
I really enjoyed your post today, and see wonderful things happening in your art. Yours was the first true art blog I ever stmbled on. I think it was one of thoose meant to be things, because reading and looking gave me some sort of push I needed. It’s been a pivotal time for me, with my husband in this kidney failure thing, our daughter starting college, me taking on more care of my father and my brother and his wife preparing for their third, very unexpected child. I desperately needed something that was my own
Things will always be stressful and crazy, and I’ll never be perfect in anything, but I’ve taken a forceful stand and unapolegetically insisted on time to paint, study and learn.
Without knowing each other, you helped me a lot. I will always appreciate that, and will pass on the courage to try when I have the opportunity.
These lemons are just beautiful. Lovely colors. The four steps also resonate with me. (They remind me of how one learns new computer software.)
I think my mouth puckered a little when I saw those lemons. Great job! Both of them are beautiful.