1. Clara Southern, An old bee farm (1900)

2. Arthur Streeton, Still glides the stream, and shall forever glide (1890)

3. Isaac Levitan, The evening bells ringing (1892)

4. Hans Heysen, Droving into the light (1914-21)

5. Arthur Streeton, The creek (1925)

I’m learning to paint. And taking Nathan Fowkes’ plein air painting course on Schoolism as one way to get there. The homework is to do 10 ‘quick’, small, and simplified greyscale studies of landscape paintings. I’m halfway through and, guys, it’s hard. The purpose of the assignment seems to be to learn about composition but I am mostly just struggling with the paint.

From the very beginning of starting art, it’s been a battle with myself to be patient with a piece. To think before laying down a line. To recover from a mistake thoughtfully rather than desperately trying to fix it with more and faster lines. To not give up when something goes wrong. Coming back to traditional art is really pulling those things into focus again. The more successful of the paintings were simply the ones where I was in the right mindset. Where I didn’t become impatient or scared or frustrated, and where I dealt with mistakes as a part of the process.

I’m most proud of the Heysen study, because I did make a few mistakes there and get right to the edge of impatience before pulling myself back to taking care. I think I mostly managed it because I love the Heysen painting so much that I really wanted the final study to look good, and I really wanted to learn as much from the painting as I could.

So, send me your fave landscapes, I’ve had a heavy dose of Australians and I could probably hack some other nationalities now. (But also send me your fave Aussies too.) I’m gonna need at least five more and I’d put my bets on next lesson’s homework being similar studies with just a few more colours involved…