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Weekly Blog on creativity and what it takes to be an artist by David Limrite (artist, teacher, mentor & coach)


Blog 2:11:18 Copyright 2018 David Limrite Artist Teacher Coach Mentor Get Out Of Your Own Way.jpg

Demo from my first class at my home studio a couple of weeks ago. I was reviewing one technique for doing warm up sketches which focuses on exaggeration and contours. 24”x 18”, charcoal on paper. © 2018 David Limrite

“What you do when you paint, you take a brush full of paint, get paint on the picture, and you have faith.”
Willem de Kooning, Artist

Get Out Of Your Own Way

The above quote by the great Willem de Kooning sure simplifies the process, doesn’t it? 

Although I love this quote, the part that trips me up is at the end when he says, “… and you have faith”. I know that I am a pretty good artist and that I have the skills to create what I want to create; however, having faith often eludes me.

Why is it so hard sometimes to have faith in your skills and to trust the process?

For me, it is all about what goes on in my head while I am creating. I tend to “think” too much while I am creating. Instead of just getting paint on my brush and putting that paint on the canvas, I get in my own way with thoughts like:

  • hat is the right brushstroke for this part of the picture?
  • Am I doing this correctly?
  • Will I like it when it’s finished?
  • I am not sure that this is as loose as I would like it to be.
  • I have got to get that second load of laundry in the washer, return some emails, and make an important phone call.
  • I don’t seem to be painting that well today.
  • I don’t have much time to paint right now, so I will have to make a lot of progress and fast.
  • The studio sure is dirty and cluttered.

And on, and on, and on.

Instead of just painting and enjoying the process, I sometimes allow my brain to take over and, as a result, I get in my own way.

I realize that I have stuff to learn, work on and improve upon, however, I do better with that kind of stuff when I fold it into the art that I am currently creating. It is too easy for me to fall into the trap of thinking that I have to learn more, practice more, and get better at using a certain technique before I can actually start creating the “real” art that I want to create. 

So, I try and create “my” art and learn as I go.

I try and focus on process not product, paint as often as I can in order to build momentum, and have several pieces going on at the same time in order to stay busy and engaged ( which keeps my mind from wandering).

I also do another very important thing which works great for me. I try and have a single, main goal that I can focus on for each painting that I am working on. For one painting it might be the actual brush stroke. For another, value contrast, and for another it could be exploring warm vs. cool, texture, pattern or shape.

Try it. Pick one single simple goal to focus on for each painting you are working on and then “take a brush full of paint, get paint on the picture, and have faith.”

Do whatever you can to get out of your own way in order to be able to create.





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February 22, Thursday (1 Space Available - Click to Enroll)
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