Tybee Island Lighthouse Painting (c) Mary Hubley
Tybee Island Lighthouse 5 x 7

Challenges are Challenging

During the last Oil Painters of America (OPA) national show, surrounded by world-class master artists and their best paintings of the year, one of my quick plein air studies was included in the event’s plein air side-show. I wanted to hide under a rock. I got lots of compliments, but I knew it wasn’t even up to my own standards.

During the show, the master artists encouraged me to stop mucking about and get serious. They put my painting practice on a slower, more thoughtful trajectory.

Painting Slower. Painting Better.

Getting serious means putting in more hours. Rather than settling on ho-hum subject matter that bores me (and my viewers), I spend more time figuring out what a painting will be. I first go on a great quest for subject matter that has awesome “bones” and great promise. And then spend much more time designing, sketching, and underpainting than ever before. I’ve been paying more attention to light and shadow, value, and quality. I spend weeks on a painting rather than days.

The result? Maybe it’s working. Some of my paintings are starting to get more national attention than ever. My effort to not “muck about” is receiving more awards from international art shows, and getting into national publications. And I love this new, slower process. I paint fewer paintings in the end, but I’m so much happier with their quality than ever before. And better yet, I’m painting what I’ve always dreamed of painting.

— Mary Hubley