Art theory Flower Art Oil Painting Painting Still Life Studio

Passable Painting Passages

Roses detail


Garlic detail


I’m learning to appreciate the bits of paintings that work while letting go of the parts that won’t/can’t be fixed. These two sections pleased me, even though the original paintings as a whole were not successful. In both cases I started off boldly, got the big shapes blocked in and immediately painted the two segments above.

Then I got tired, the sun went down and the room in the light changed, the flowers opened in the heat, the floodlight I was using burned out and I didn’t have another, the setup got moved (thanks kitties…see below) and although I tried to fix both paintings over and over I finally decided to cut my losses once again and move on.

I learn so much with each painting, whether it works as a whole or not. I’ve started putting labels on the backs with the year, a serial number and a few words about what worked, what didn’t and what I learned. It will be fun at the end of the year to review my progress.

Fiona taking up modeling:
Fiona wants to be a model

Rose set up day one (and on my bulletin board art by Pete, Alison and John Sonsini‘s wonderful portraits):
Rose setup day 1

5 replies on “Passable Painting Passages”

Jana, I think you have the right approach to your painting. Never giving up and never becoming too frustrated about failures. Trying again and again eventually results in wonderful work. We only learn through failures – never through perfectionism – how could we?
I think you will surprised at the end of a season how much progress you have made. It’s a great idea to document all and everything. In times when I get sort of depressed I look into my notebook and always realize that I can be proud of what I have achieved. This is one of the few moments where I think looking back can be motivating!

Greetings from Munich,

Thanks Petra. You always leave such thoughtful messages and you’re so right. Today I posted a painting that I did in the same part 6 months ago and it felt so much easier this time! ~Jana


I have difficulty keeping the passion level going beyond an hour, get sidetracked and exhausted in the chore of a big canvas. I either have to use smaller surfaces or larger brushes and let go of trying to force myself. It’s almost a yoga thing.


I love your posts, sketches and oils.

Thanks Aiko. I often run out of steam after about two hours and need to take a break. The breaks seem to help be able to go back with a fresh eye. If I get too locked into a painting and don’t take breaks I usually regret it. ~Jana


That’s a good positive way of looking at your progress! You really are making wonderful progress with your oils. It will be interesting to look back at the end of the year and see your progress. I really like all three of these paintings/pieces of paintings!

Thanks Tami! And I know you speak from experience since your work has grown so much over time too! ~Jana


The cut-off sections of a painting sometimes look better than the whole thing! They are like Japanese woodcuts. I like the colours you have used here.

Thanks Wendy. That’s an interesting observation. ~Jana


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