play pays

Back in the studio today after a long time away. Two models at the same time, which was a new challenge, but look what happened! About a half hour warming up led to a two and a half hour sprint through to this:

back to back-a

I think struggling with oils unkinked my artbrain.

Oils? Yeah, I’ve been working with those too:

whisky glass-a

in the chair-a

Those were alla prima attempts done all in one sitting each, separated by a couple of weeks. You have to go fast, and the paint is always wet so you can’t fuss too much with fine detail because you keep smearing it away accidentally. Alla prima favors the bold.

Something I haven’t seen talked about much is the way working in different media helps you improve in the media you aren’t using. Every time I take a break from pastels, for example, to do a bunch of inks or watercolors or oils, I come back to pastels and suddenly they work so much better. This has even worked with photography. Focusing on one form of making images pays off in other forms.

I’m guessing it’s similar to the thing that happens in your brain when you practice something right before sleep. You go away from one set of problems and practice against a different set, but both problems use the same wiring to solve. What you learn in one is useful in the other. But the real key is that unless you jump to a different related problem, you don’t learn as much because you keep hitting the same routine solutions in the problem set you are familiar with.

It’s almost as though we are wired for a kind of altruism. Fix someone else’s problem to fix your own.

These are hard lessons for an introverted functional nihilist to absorb. Sometimes focus doesn’t pay. Sometimes play does.

Oh! Also I let loose another one of these:

The Occasional Bitslice: Volume 3 Number 1

It’s a newsletter I sometimes do, when I have something worth talking about. It tends to be more personal, sometimes, than the writing in this blog, though this one is split about evenly between recriminations and a long pep talk about the virtues of branding yourself. Lots of the people who read this are my friends, but it’s aimed at a wider audience. I like the idea of there being a channel of writing that slides into your inboxes rather than sits out exposed, staring off into the empty horizon, contemplating it’s loneliness.

The bitslice is too needy for that Clint Eastwood routine. The bitslice needs to be warm, inside your mail client. Read the bitslice, so it stops shivering. And if you like it, adopt it by subscribing:

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That’s all for now. Stuff is being worked on. There’ll be more soon.

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Bill became odd after surviving a long series of mentally destabilizing encounters with Numinous Memetic Entities. He likes to curse, and considers evocative vulgarity to be the last remaining genuine form of poetry left to the human heart.

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