I usually paint every day, even if I don’t feel like it. I say to myself “I’ll just do half an hour today” and go to the studio. Most of the time, I end up doing much more than just half an hour.
The difficult part is always getting started. You sit in front of a blank canvas or an unfinished painting and ask yourself “now what?” The trick is to do something – anything. Figure out one thing about the painting that can be improved, and work on that. Then the next thing will come. Before you know it, you are into painting again and it’s just flowing.
You get stuck when you don’t do anything. To not be stuck, just do something. As long as you are moving forward, you aren’t stuck.
I’ve had good results painting when extremely tired, because you don’t overthink things then, and you can discover something new when you are not functioning out of your knowledge. When very tired, I work more instinctually.
I’ve also had good results when trying to work fast. Having a deadline forces you to loosen up. If you have 30 minutes to paint a sunset before its gone, you tackle the painting differently than if you were to have all day, or all week, or all month.
You learn from experimenting. You learn from doing things differently. To do things differently is easy – change your pallette, use different colors than you normally use. Buy new colors. Try a new kind of paint. Change wood to canvas, or vice versa. Try a colored ground. Work with larger or smaller brushes. The possibilities are endless. I like learning during experimentation, and filing away that knowledge somewhere in the back of my mind. Then, I come back to it consciously whenever the situation calls for it.
Without sufficient experimentation, your work becomes boring – for you and for the viewer as well.
Each picture should have a story, a reason why you made it. If there is no reason or story behind it, then it’s just decorative or commercial.