206: How to improve

Summer Light, 11″ x 11″, 8 block woodcut

When reflecting on how to improve in the coming year we might come up with the usual ideas: practice and study. But if we are already pursuing this double tracked course are there other factors that might help us move forward at a faster pace? Here is my list for accelerated improvement in 2015:

EXPERIMENT
I learned a lot by doing small abstracts which originally were not finished pieces of art but experiments in field effects. I hope to do more experimental work in both abstracts and landscapes in the coming year. No matter how busy you are denying yourself the growth experimentation promotes is simply not worth it.

FOCUS
I intend to paint with more focus using the principles of deliberate practice. Basically this means that when you paint a sky, for example, you make an extra effort to communicate a unique experience. It can take the form of asking a series of questions such as “Am I relying on past formulas when I mix my colors? What could I do differently that would add more to this passage?”

RELAX
Having successfully tamed much of my anxiety disorder I found I paint better when I’m totally relaxed. Even for those who do not suffer such disorders relaxing is a proven way to boost performance. I intend to follow my anti-stress regimen described here with greater diligence. Anything you create in a hurry will be marred. Anything you create calmly will be enhanced. Hurrying rarely has a positive result.

Brad Teare–December 2014

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Updated: 20th September 2020
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