Trials and Triumphs of Live Painting

Last night I had a table set up in front of the Hive Gallery, selling prints and painting as part of DTLA Art Walk. I rarely paint in front of other people, and I have to admit I was a little nervous about the whole endeavor. 

My set-up in front of Hive Gallery for DTLA Art Walk on 3/10/16. 

My set-up in front of Hive Gallery for DTLA Art Walk on 3/10/16. 

The first time I painted live at an event was in 2008, and it was a disaster! I was one of 3 featured artists at the grand opening of my friend's t-shirt printing store, and I had no idea what I was doing. I've blocked out some of the memories from that night, but what I recall is this: 

  • I was seated on the floor with my canvas propped up by the wall, trying not to get accidentally kicked by onlookers as it was both crowded and pretty dark in there.
  • I chose to paint in acrylics to avoid making too much of a mess, even though at the time I had really only painted with oils, and didn't know any tricks to help with drying time and blending, etc. 
  • This was back in college when I was on a bit of an abstract kick, and contrary to popular belief, abstract painting is actually VERY difficult to do WELL

By the end of the night, I had a hopelessly half-finished, HORRIBLE painting, and I felt awful. It was such a terrifying experience that I vowed never to do it again.

Fast forward to 2016. You know that saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"? Well, I finally overcame my fears, and decided to do just that - with amazing results! 

Click image to view in-progress video. 

Click image to view in-progress video. 

I had fun painting this little number over the course of 3 hours (stopping often to chat with people) AND I'm pleased with how it turned out:).  I know that I did things better this time: 

  • I had a proper setup behind a table with a light; 
  • I didn't try to go too big - working on a 6x6inch panel; 
  • I used my trusted oil paints; 
  • AND I used a source photo - very important since with all the interruptions I had a reference to keep me on track.

Untitled (suggestions?), oil on wood panel, 6x6inches. Sold. 

Most importantly of all, I was way more CONFIDENT this time. I think that's because I have more experience now and I have my own style. Also, my 50|50 project from last summer really taught me a lot, and showed me that I could indeed finish a painting in one sitting. 

Now that I'm over the fear and doubt, I foresee more live painting in my future!