I'm working on my painting resolutions for next year. The first one is something I've been thinking about for a couple of months. I want to sit down with my paints and brushes and just practice brush strokes until I find every kind of stroke I can make with each of my favorite brushes--wide strokes, skinny ones, curvy, loopy, wiggly ones, straight, horizontal, vertical, angled. With thin paint, thick paint, dry brush, wet-in-wet, and any other way I can think of that's different. The only excuse I have for not having done it the first time it occurred to me, is that I'm very lazy and a professional procrastinator.
Second is to keep working against a habit that I've almost broken. Even though I've always felt that my goal is to capture the feel of a place, the essence of it, I've always been a slave to copying what I see. Even though that copying is counter to my goal, I do see a reason for trying to doing it: it's a way of testing your ability to produce a particular image. I feel like it's the first stage of creation, training your skills, and using the way your results look to tell how well you succeeded. The problem with that is that I always feel obligated to not get creative with the image, but to represent it faithfully so its viewers will see what I saw. I don't want to feel that way any more. I don't plan on doing any documentaries, and I really do want to evoke a feeling with a painting. If that happens now, it's purely by accident. I wouldn't begin to know how to do that, or how to tell if I succeed. I want the viewer to feel what I feel.