The Struggle of Painting

Struggle is a necessary part of being a painter.  Though I’ve always known this, it’s often forgotten.  I’m not talking about struggle in the tormented, anguished loner sense, but in the technical sense.  We can always be better painters.  There’s always an achievement that is elusive, a gap between what our mind sees and what our hand does.


The sooner we can accept this struggle–or even embrace it–the more likely we will continue painting.  And it’s not all about technique.  After all, we’re artists and not merely craftsmen.  Nevertheless, there is a vision our mind strives to project, and much of the time our technique feels inadequate.  This is one of the more compelling reasons to spend hours in the studio, so a technique can be developed that is sufficient for our vision.


We have to be comfortable with this struggle.  There are happy accidents, too–times when we surprise ourselves with a nearly effortless series of great brushstrokes.  These happy accidents may help us along in our journey or make the burden of expression lighter, but if one is to continue painting, struggle will be a constant reality.

“Arthur’s Forest” Completed

The painting for Arthur’s room is now complete.  Soon we will have it framed, and it will most likely hang above his crib (safely out of reach, of course).  I couldn’t resist rendering the bear in blue.  It’s part of my need to experiment with color.  As soon as I’m able to have high resolution photos made, I will post the entire painting here.  For now, I hope you enjoy this close-up detail.  Thanks for clicking on the link!

Arthur’s Forest

When I began thinking about the subject matter of the painting I wanted to do for our son’s nursery, I knew that I wanted to incorporate animals in an imaginary forest, and I wanted to do it in a way that was both colorful and playful.  The idea to include a bear cub clinging to a tree came instantly as I reflected on one of the meanings of the name Arthur.  It is an ancient name, and its origins are somewhat obscure, but the sources I’ve seen consistently trace the name back to the word “artos”, which is Celtic for “bear”.  The image to the left is an early detail from the painting, which I’ve decided to call “Arthur’s Forest”.  The piece is almost finished and will soon hang above Arthur’s bed.