Monday, February 10, 2014


Have you ever wondered how the really BIG name artists produce so much art? How do they keep themselves motivated, at their easels so much of the time, yet lead a balanced life? This week, on Facebook, I read a post by Robert Bateman. His words helped me to understand some of his process as an artist, and to know that even Robert Bateman has moments when he is discouraged!!! Imagine!!!

This is the quote from his Facebook page: 

"I work on 5 or 10 paintings at once. This is a photo of what’s in the works at the moment. 

I am painting all the time, even when I am doing other things, I am always working on my art – even if it is just in my head.

What happens is I get discouraged and don’t know what to do next. I always like a painting when I start it or else I wouldn’t start it – in fact they always look best before I start! Then I get to work on it and it starts going downhill and I don’t know why. It is the same as writers block. If I knew why I didn’t like it I would fix it – because I know how to fix things.

Rather than siting around in despair, I start a new one and I feel better. By the time the 5th one is looking horrible then the 1st one doesn’t look so bad anymore. So I leap frog along.

Today I am working on this one of tigers."

Robert Bateman
February 5, 2013 

So, here's my takeaway from the post:

1.   He is always thinking about his art, even when he is not in the studio.

2.   He is always planning ... what to do with a piece he is working on, what his next piece will be, etc.

3.   When he is stuck, he leaves the piece for a period of time so that he can gain a different perspective.

4.   Even when he has left a piece to get a different perspective on it, he is thinking about it and planning for how he will "fix" it. He does not often abandon a piece.

5.   He has many pieces on the go at the same time, so that when he gets stuck on one piece, he moves on to the next one. He is never without work to do. He always has something on the easel.

6.   He works on many paintings at the same time, but they are different sizesSome are large, some small and some in between. 

I found this post really helpful to understand that all creatives are frustrated with their art form at one time or another. All of us can be discouraged with our work. But when I look at Robert Bateman, he has a system which enables him to overcome those moments of frustration and discouragement, a plan which draws him into his studio each day and gives him the impetus to create. No wonder he is able to produce so much art!  

Think I'm going to take a lesson from this man, and plan a system that will support me in my work. :-)

If you would like to see the picture of what he is currently working on, here is a link to it: Bateman Centre

And here is a photo of my latest creation, hot off the easel...
Cedar Branch
Venetian Plaster on Birchwood
18" x 24"

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