The Single Most Important Ingredient in Great Art


24 x 24 oil painting — the one I worked on for two days, then scraped off the paint to start over. I’m very happy with the end result, but it was hard fought!

This past week, I spent two days working on a painting — only to scrape all the paint off and begin again. It wasn’t working. The more I worked it, the worse off it was.

This happens. It’s not the first time, and I doubt it will be the last. I’m a bit distracted: There is so much going on in the world right now to distract us. And each of us has enough in our daily lives, even without the political drama.

Art is a jealous mistress. She demands all of you. So I begin again. That is the secret: Just keep at it. Showing up is the secret, and not giving up.

As for eliminating the distraction, that is for each of us to figure out. I’m not sure there is a magic answer, except to begin again.

I’d love to hear your ideas. But above all, if you show up, and keep showing up, and always begin again, if you do that in your commitment to anything, that is where mastery lives. And maybe the only place mastery can be found. What do you think?

As always, the best conversations are on Facebook and Instagram. I love hearing from you there and keeping the discussion going.

I’ll leave you today with this quote from Carrie Fisher: “Take your broken heart and make art.”


24 x 24 oil painting from this week

About Stephanie Schlatter Art

Stephanie Schlatter is an Artist who draws from the world for inspiration. While she calls Grand Rapids, Michigan, home she’s often off on new adventures. For more than a decade, her journeys have taken her across the globe. She has studied art both locally and abroad, including time in Mexico, where she decided to shift her focus from photography to painting. Stephanie's travels led her to found Absolutely Art: A Project for Change in 2006. Through this non-profit organization, she brings art instruction to the children of Ethiopia while supporting their education. Stephanie's work reflects an expression influenced by other cultures which resonates a variety of influences that have given her work direction.

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