Looking back on 2018

2018 has been a busy year and although I was not able to accomplish everything that I set out to do in the end of 2017, there were quite some exciting things that happened this year.

The main thing I think was that I decided to reduce working hours in my employment as a software engineer to give myself more time to develop my painting skills and to actually paint more. I now only work 4 days per week from Monday to Thursday and I try to spend my Friday’s almost exclusively with painting, if family life allows for it.
Since I made this change in the beginning of October I saw a noticeable increase in productivity and along with that a very important reduction in mental stress, because the feeling that I was not able to focus on my craft almost went completely away. I additionally got rid of my old desk and built myself a nice painting area where I tried to make the most out of the really small space I have in my living room that I can use for painting.

The second big thing for me this year was to give oil colors another chance, after a few failed attempts last year. Finally I found a way of working in oil that allowed me to control the colors in a way that I can handle them now as I need to do. This was due to a video I watched on youtube where this fellow artist Alex Tzavaras talks about a simple thing: opaqueness and transparency of different colors. Although this topic seems to be so simple, this was a huge eye-opener for me. This combined with the study of “Harold Speed, Oil Painting Techniques and Materials” and of “Andrew Loomis, Figure Drawing for all it’s worth” helped me immensely in improving the necessary skills with regards to my drawing and painting that allowed me to advance with my oil paintings.
So now I find myself almost exclusively working in oils and occasionally in charcoal… almost having completely left my watercolors untouched in the second half of this year. After all my doubts about my skills in oil I’m finally able to work with this medium as I intend, which was a huge accomplishment for me personally.

It just shows that with enough dedication and the willingness to put time and work into your craft you ARE able to accomplish your goals eventually. It’s just about not quitting even if you feel like that there’s no chance that you will ever get there and seeing the small successes while trying to still aim for your bigger goals.

So to sum things up: Although it would be nice to be able to spend even more time with painting and to have a separate room to use as a studio, currently I have a different situation to deal with. Somehow having patience with establishing the way I want to live and work seems to be a very dominant theme in my life. Accepting your responsibilities in life without loosing your dreams in it is the real struggle, that must not be lost if you do not want to loose yourself.