Experimentation

Watch this owl and rabbit landscape oil painting come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

You might remember when I blogged about this. I did this landscape as two separate paintings, of an owl, and then of a rabbit. I added a moon for the final outcome. This experiment allowed me to paint economically, using only one canvas for three different paintings (photographed separately for a variety of uses for prints, publication, designs, etc.), as well as economy of time, as it was faster to paint multiple paintings using the same basic palette, and everything was all set up. I could just sit down and paint the next one. Well, sort of. There’s a lot that goes into these painting sessions, but you get the idea. It gave me a few shortcuts.

The more important result though is that when I shake things up and try new things, I’m pushed to approach my work differently. I usually go right back to my regular way of doing things, but it’s with a fresh perspective and renewed energy. Experimentation makes sure that we don’t get into a rut. I try new approaches on a regular basis- not so often that my schedule is chaotic and unfocused, but often enough to keep myself challenged.

Currently I’m doing something I’ve done before, but haven’t in a while. I have two projects going on at once. I’m alternating between the smaller short term project and the larger longer project. I work on one painting and the next day the other,  switching back and forth. When I finish this short painting on my easel now (probably tomorrow), I will then set up a new short project in its place. I will keep going like this until the long term project is done.

As usual, we can use painting strategies as metaphors for life in general. When we change how we normally do things, we can regenerate our thinking and shift ourselves into higher energy- spiritually, mentally, and physically. When we feel renewed, we tend to feel more positive, our thoughts are more focused, and we move faster. Positivity, clarity, and movement lead to a healthier and more prosperous life. We can plow through our hardships easier, we see solutions faster, and we have greater physical stamina to handle the fatigue of challenges that come our way.

When we don’t push ourselves to try new ways of doing things, we may fall into the trap of waiting for life to get better and being enslaved by events we can’t control. Bad times come to everyone. When they do, we need to be strong. Challenges make us stronger. We can make small changes, like fixing something unexpected for dinner. Our food choice can be a new recipe, or an old family favorite that no one’s made in years. 

The important thing is to break out of a rut. When we see patterns in our life, we can deliberately break them and shake things up. We might discover something we’d like to keep doing and add to our lives indefinitely, but it’s likely that we’ll revert back to our familiar and comfortable ways. When we do, it feels a bit like coming home after a vacation. It’s good to take a break, but it’s even better to come back home and feel a renewed appreciation for our lives.

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