Friday, January 21, 2011


"Terlingua Creek" 20" x 24" oil/c

Well there went three hours of my life I
ever get back. In the interest
of blog reader education I post my most
recent failure. Recent as in today.

Painting failures happen. There is no
avoiding them and you never know when
they are going to happen until they do. If
you are living a charmed life a failure never
happens in front of a workshop or, even
worse, while painting in a gallery in front of
a group of collectors. YIKES!

Maybe I just thought about this one too long.
I did a 12" x 16" plein air study two years
ago during a trip to Big Bend. (see below)

I love this painting. Maybe it was the
three beers I drank while painting this one
or maybe because I was painting with a
really good group of friends. Who knows?
All I know is I hit a home run on this one.

So today I decide to pull this sketch off the shelf
and try to paint it one size up with the intent
of eventually doing a huge 36" x 48" or something.
I've got my music playing and I know I have at least four
hours of uninterrupted paint time to play with. Things are
going good. The paint is flowing. I seem to be in the
proper groove. Just finished watching Kathryn Stats'
new video so I am fully pumped with creative juices.
Three hours later I have this dog of a painting
sitting on my easel. Crapola!

I never share my failures. My wife is the only person
allowed to view them. I usually sulk for a couple of hours,
never more than a day, then I clean the palette, throw
a new canvas on the easel and got at it again knowing
the failure is a fleeting thing not to be worried about.
"Just keep slapping paint" I tell myself.

Right now I blame Kathryn Stats. In her new video
"Overview" she paints this stunning mountain pass.
Fairly large one too. Looks to be an 18" x 30" canvas or so.
I sat and watched it...then I watched it again...then I
jumped to my favorite spots. She is amazing and she
is the reason I put this one in the tank, because I was
channeling Kathryn while I was painting and she was
apparently not listening.

Anyway, I've done some good work recently so I was due.
I cleaned my pallette, washed my brushes and closed the
door to my studio. Tomorrow is another day.


Susan Roux said...

Don't be so hard on yourself. Even your tank is pretty good... I see it isn't as strong as your other pieces, but seriously, it can still be punched up.

Have a better day painting tomorrow.

john pototschnik said...

Wow, Rusty...I've never had a failure. It's really nice leading a charmed life. I'm sorry you're missing out. Seriously, I enjoyed the blog. The story is sadly the case for every serious artist.You're work is wonderful, surely you know it.

Tina Bohlman said...

Rusty, I feel your pain! Same thing happens to me when I watch a Joseph Zbukvic watercolor DVD.

I agree with Susan...I think the shadow areas are beautiful; you just need to throw in some more sunlight!

Rusty Jones said...

Thanks everybody. This one will go to a dark place in the closet for at least a month. Then I'll pull it out and look at it with fresh eyes. Right the pain is too fresh. I have an artistic open wound. It will heal and I will tackle that mother bear some other time.

Theresa Rankin said...

Rusty, I totally get it!! I saw this post and could really relate...I have often tried to channel Richard Schmid to no avail...:) Your work is wonderful as John said and this piece is not as bad as you may think We all have those moments when we expect more out of ourselves. Personally, I have had some real stinkers.....and they get tossed real quick.

Anonymous said...

I wish my good pieces were as good as your bad pieces!