Sometimes The Answer Is So Simple
It Takes Someone Else to Point It Out
When I first started painting, I would choose pictures from magazines to paint so I could work out my technique.
Most of them were simple beach scenes, and I was content with that until one day I ran across a more complex image that captivated me.
It was a lighthouse perched atop a rocky cliff at sunrise. The colors were so vivid and the way the sun reflected off the wet rocks made it almost look 3 dimensional.
It was far beyond my skill level at the time, but I decided to give it a try anyway. After all, how was I going to learn if I didn't push the boundaries?
So, I pulled together all the paint colors I though I would need, grabbed the appropriate brushes, roughly sketched the design on the canvas and proceeded to begin painting the sky.
To my amazement, it looked just like the photograph!
The colors were spot on, the blending was perfect, and my confidence was rising.
Next, I would attempt to paint the lighthouse. There was a level of perspective involved in painting this structure that I'd never had to tackle before, but again, to my amazement, it fell right into place. And the ocean did too.
The last thing left to paint was the brightly reflective foreground rocks. This was the part of the photo that grabbed my attention to begin with, and since I had painted many rocks before this, I wasn't worried at all.
But for some reason, I couldn't make them look vibrant and shiny like the ones in the photo.
The rest of the painting had gone surprisingly smooth, but not nailing this would ruin the whole thing.
So I painted over the rocks and began again, and again, and again. Nothing seemed to work. I did everything I knew how to do, but I simply couldn't recreate what I saw.
I probably would have scrapped the whole thing and given up had the other parts of it not turned out so beautifully.
I had to finish this.
So after a few weeks of trying and re-trying everything, I decided to ask for help.
I knew an artist that had been painting almost as long as I had been alive and figured she had probably seen and done about everything there was to see and do.
So I took my painting and the magazine picture to her as a last ditch effort to save my work.
Within seconds she told me exactly what to do to fix it...and it worked!
No kidding! Within the hour, my rocks were beginning to have the same magnificent glow as the ones from the magazine.
By the end of the day, my painting was complete. It was the most complex and technically difficult piece I had ever created. It was stunning, but I almost gave up on it. What a shame that would have been.
It was a lesson not only in art but in life as well.
Sometimes we try so hard to do things on our own. We're stubborn or don't want to bother others, so we forge ahead making unnecessary mistakes.
Don't get me wrong, some mistakes are good. They help us learn, but there comes a point where they become counterproductive and even harmful.
That's when it's time to ask for help.
I could have saved weeks of time and frustration had I just asked for help to begin with. The answer was so simple for her, and she enjoyed helping me find my way.
So when you get stuck in life, know that there is always someone who's walked that path before and can help you avoid the pitfalls. Reach out to them. Most people love to pass on their expertise and you benefit from the lesson.
By the way, are you curious about what the artist told me? She said to simply paint Titanium White over the rocks that were glowing and then add the color. It gave them the bright undertones they needed to pop.
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