A friend of mine asked me, "what do you have after a week-long painting workshop? Did you come back with paintings?" I laughed. "No, no new paintings, just lots of fundamentals and practice."
Getting familiar with the paints, the combining of colors to create rich neutrals, how much water and how much pigment, how the water and pigment move together on the paper, which brushes give what effect—these are the fundamentals of painting.
And since I had not painted for over a year, it is these fundamentals that I revisited. They weren’t in my back pocket anymore. I had to reconnect with them. It was a happy reunion.
Painting is much the same as playing basketball or learning photography or writing practice. You follow your passion and you practice. Through practice you develop skill, familiarity, confidence. You load your brain with the fundamentals.
Then when you want to paint, these fundamentals are right there in your brain’s library. You focus on your subject and the rest flows. This is the essence of talent—a loaded library.
I practiced trees, lots of trees.
Practice wets the appetite. It made me eager to paint more trees.