Sometimes you must be willing to let go of something important in order to achieve a desired goal. This lesson is relatable both in  life and in art.

I have experienced this phenomenon more than once in my life. But, it happened most recently while painting under the tutelage (yet again) of master painter, Michael Workman.

Reference photo

I have been studying with Mike in an ongoing quest to contemporize my paintings.

During a painting session, I chose to use my own longhorn steer photo as a reference for an oil painting exercise. I was really inspired by my own longhorn photo and so the painting process was going smoothly.

I was pleased with my composition and the way I interpreted the foliage. I also took a risk by cropping the horns off top of the canvas.

Much to my surprise, Michael Workman wasn’t as pleased with my painting as I was!

Mike explained that my longhorn steer was a pleasant painting, but nothing special. In an effort to help, he asked if he could make a few adjustments and I said yes. He requested a paper towel and with one stroke, half of the longhorn’s horn was gone – yikes!

To me it felt very sacrilegious to cut off the longhorn steer’s horn, but it really worked! What a valuable reminder! Sometimes we must be willing to let something go in order to achieve a desired goal!

Next, Mike took an old credit card and with a few swipes, he deconstructed my brushwork and simplified the background leaving spontaneous imperfections. Bravo!!

Mike is a fabulous mentor albeit he’s tough. I had to leave my ego aside in order to grow.

What do you think of the changes?

Thanks for stopping by,