It is so easy to get into a rut with painting and even easier to fall into the trap Picasso so aptly described: ‘Success is dangerous, one begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others – it leads to sterility.’ So if your painting has hit the doldrums perhaps it is time to adopt a completely new approach to the way you work.
Why not have a crack at some of the following ideas: Rather than sitting in front of a scene or still life, drawing it carefully and then applying the paint, why not be more radical. Stare at the scene for about five minutes; note in your mind the things that are important, tones, colours, shapes even the feel or emotion the scene evokes. Move away from the scene, or hide away the still life, now draw what you ‘see’, feel and remember. You won’t be able to put in all the detail, but what you will draw is what is really important about what you have seen and that will be much more interesting.
Do the opposite of what you would normally do, for example; if you start drawing objects from the top down, reverse it. If you normally paint from the back and come forwards as with a landscape, for example, you might paint the sky first, then the background hills etc. Try painting the foreground first and working backwards, it produces a quite different effect and can be very liberating.
Try breaking one of the habits that you have got into with your drawing and painting. Be honest with yourself. Do you rely on drawing only things seen, do you rely on photographs, do you always draw out your idea before painting, and do you always use the same colours / colour scheme? Why not ditch the habit; it can be quite a liberating experience. Go on you know you really want to give it a try!!