Learn from Michelle

Rufus Blinds Your Retrospective

Rufus is the snooty, know-it-all, art critic that lives inside the mind of every artist.
“Paint. Paint fast. The more you paint, the better you’ll be. Don’t ever go back. Keep moving forward. Faster. FASTER!” ~ Rufus
If you want to be a really great artist, you should paint a lot. Paint as fast as you can, as much as you can. Start a new project every day. Never look back. Always look forward. Every single statement in the above paragraph is a half-truth.
^^^ Read that again.
A half-truth is a whole lie. Telling half-truths is yet another one of Rufus’s tricky tactics to stifle your development as an artist. You have to learn to see his half-truths so you can keep him from his ultimate goal of turning you into a quitter.
Yes, if you want to be a really great artist, you should paint a lot. I one hundred percent agree with Rufus on that. Painting daily, even if only for five minutes is a really great idea. However, saying that you should paint a lot is not equal to painting fast and recklessly. Painting for five minutes with a deliberate practice goal in mind is a lot different than just painting for five minutes. Five minutes of deliberate practice will be far more beneficial than painting in quantity, which brings us to Rufus’s next lie…
Starting a new project every day isn’t always the best plan. It would be much more beneficial to paint the same subject ten times, finally getting it just right, than to paint ten subjects quick and dirty with no thought to deliberate practice and improving technique. The latter doesn’t really build skills. It just creates a body of mediocre work. The former may feel monotonous and like a waste of time, but I can assure you it’s not.
Deliberate practice also dispels Rufus’s lie that you should never look back and always look forward. Saying an artist should never look back implies that one should never repaint anything they’ve already painted. Hogwash! Artists throughout history have painted the same subject many times in small studies before tackling the final, wall-sized (sometimes life-sized!) painting. Sometimes, you have to look back in order to do better going forward. Looking back is a good thing to do as an artist!
Paint as fast as you can… more lies! Painting fast doesn’t leave any time for retrospection. This crucial phase of the creative process, when skipped, will often leave an artist’s work either feeling amateur or incomplete. Don’t let Rufus convince you not to live with a painting for a minimum of a few days before putting it “out there.” Those few days will give you fresh eyes to see the work in a different way. Those crucial few days of retrospect can make the difference between a good painting and a great one!
If Rufus were honest, he’d say, “Paint. Take your time. The more you implement deliberate practice, the better you’ll be. Always learn from your mistakes. Never give up. Slowing down is a skill. Retrospect is crucial.”
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