My Seven Principles of Painting

Why is it that so many self-help publications have seven points, principles or “habits,” as one famous series has in its title? Seven does seem like a nice, manageable number. Five might strike the reader as a bit thin, while ten could become tedious and overbearing. So seven it is. Who am I to argue with the collective wisdom of our great publishing houses?

I decided to write this a few months ago when I kept finding references to the seven principles of this- or-that subject. It got me into some whimsical musing over what I would write, if asked, on painting. Nobody is asking, but blogs are great for just putting ideas out there and seeing what happens.

Just to be clear these are my principles for my practice and not intended as a recommendation or instruction for what others may do, but who knows, they could be helpful. If I wrote this down five or ten years ago it would have been quite different on many points, others would still be the same. Further, if I follow my own advice they will change in another five years.

Over the next few weeks I will take up each point, er, principle in this blog.

1. Before you commit to a project ask your self why you are doing it.
2. Never feel bound to your initial idea or “plan.”
3. No shortcuts! Use the best materials you can afford and the appropriate techniques.
4. Break rules.
5. Paint what you really want (even if principle #1 says don’t do it).
6. Never settle for the first pass.
7. Always look to turn weakness into strength.

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