Monday, September 20, 2010


The colours that sacrificed their dear lives for the success of Bath Marathon 1 and 2!

These are some of my ramblings as usual, lessons from the Second Marathon. Enjoy!

1. GIVING MYSELF ENOUGH TIME- I have learned never to attempt a painting when I know I don’t have sufficient time to finish it to the best of my ability. This can happen when it is about to rain and the clouds are coming but one ignores the signs and embarks on a painting and plans to finish just before it starts or when it is evening and the light is changing so fast-but you just try and knock another piece in- it’s dangerous!

2. INSUFFICIENT LIGHT- I have learned to always work in sufficient light, I did a painting in insufficient light only to be greeted by the horror of reality when I viewed it in the light!

3. RAIN IS A BLESSING NOT A CURSE- So many times artists hate the rainy days, but this marathon proved to me once more the beauty of rain. You can get great atmospheric effects, reflections and unbelievable unchanging grey light! Don’t despair when the rains come, dig in there!

4. KICKING MY BUTT-Nothing is impossible! I am not saying there isn’t anything that is impossible to paint, but I have often needed to kick myself when that small voice keeps saying, “Adebanji, you can’t paint that...” It’s time for me to answer, “The worst that can happen is that I don’t do it well, but not that I‘ll listen and not attempt it! I have attempted such during this marathon and it was a blessing!

5. EARLY MORNINGS ARE BETTER THAN LATE NIGHTS- You can never beat the freshness of the mornings. After a good day moving about cleaning the palette, packing up and moving again. I noticed I can’t be at my best after a full day of this, so I either conserve energy by sitting instead of standing or quit when the brain starts getting weary.

6. KNOWING WHEN TO STOP-Every painter faces this dilemma. I worked on one of my pieces for three hours! It still didn’t work. Well that’s life! Knowing when to top is crucial. Sometimes I need to say, NO MORE 2 HOURS, even before I start.

7. RECOGNIZABLE DETAILS- This is important. I have noticed some people have been fascinated by my paintings just because their window in the block of houses was there, or their car. Actually one lady just fancied buying my painting of Alfred Street, just because her car was in it!

8. PAINT WHERE YOU CAN PEE OR POO! In a posh city like Bath, it’s best to know you are not too far from the loo when nature calls. I’ll say no more. A word is enough for the wise.

9. TALKING TOO LONG TO ONLOOKERS WHILE PAINTING-I enjoy talking to onlookers but one night , it went on and on and on and more gathered and I got lost in concentration and accuracy and started showing off....and that’s the death of the painting! BEWARE!!!

10. BEING INSPIRED- Being inspired doesn’t come without sweat. There’s no way on earth you can wake up and conclude, “I don’t feel like it today” There are days I thought I couldn’t go on! And then when I just drove my head into it, and kept going...something divine took over and I couldn’t believe the results I got. It’s no fantasy but when immersed in work-The angel takes over the brush................

11. NEVER REJECT AN OFFER OF CHARITY-Just be courteous and accept them. Water, coffee, tea, juice, snacks, even money, One funny guy dropped £2 coins because he felt art materials are very expensive, I laughed and almost fell off my chair!

12. PAINTING WITH ALONGSIDE OTHER PAINTERS- “Iron sharpeneth Iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend"-this is what the Bible says and it is true in painting too. I painted alongside Karl Terry during my second marathon and it was great, we shared so many of the same successes and difficulties and it was such a wonderful time.

13. USING THE CAMERA TO DETECT COMPOSITION-When thinking whether a certain scene would work portrait of landscape- I just use my camera to take a shot of the scene in both views and I immediately know which one would work. One of the great advantages of digital technology.

14. NOT NEEDING TO PAINT EXACTLY WHAT IS THERE- This can become a trap when plein air painters take off their creative cap and wear on “slave to the scene cap”. Please you don’t need to put in that pole or car or figure if it is there but is going to ruin the piece! Nobody would know whether it was there or not if you leave it out and the painting works. But otherwise.................hmmmmmm

15. ITS PAINTING NOT BRAIN SURGERY- I know we need to be serious and I know this is our job and we get paid for it, but let’s not forget it’s painting and not a life and death situation. Smile and sing while you work it can help drive the blues away!

16. GETTING A WRIST SUPPORT- I had to find a solution, after working on 30 or so pictures on the go, the wrist starts to complain and you are in trouble! I went to a sports shop and told them what I do and what I am experiencing and they suggested different aids and helps. I settled for Vulkan Silicon Wrist support. I am not advertising for the company but It has helped for unbeatable protection and performance!

17. 6” X 8” REVOLUTION- This is not directly a lesson but just something I have realized while working on 6” x 8”- There is so much you can get into this small piece and it will change the way you see and paint larger works FOREVER.

Preparing for Bath Marathon 3- the sizing and priming!

Stay tuned, my next post will be on Day 1 and 2 of Bath Marathon 3! It’s on and I am UP FOR IT!!!!


Formerly stealth reader said...

hope you meet the most optimal of conditions on bath marathon 3. we await the paintings . cheers

The Stationery Concierge said...

Very interesting observations and advice here Adebanji, many wise words (and also some very funny ones too), this project is hard work but it sounds like you're still enjoying it... keep it up,

adebanji said...

Thanks FSR and Laurie! It's hard work but I always dreamed of doing this and now-I am living my dream!

Victoria on Okinawa said...

Fantastic advice for any painter, outdoors or in, thank you for sharing. Great paintings are continually coming thru you! Great work and I pray this next marathon is as much or more beneficial as the other 2 have been.

adebanji said...

Thanks Victoria! Your prayers are invaluable!

Stephanie Berry said...

Thanks for all the advice. Your energy comes through in your paintings and drawings. What do you use to paint on? Hardboard? Canvas?

Unknown said...

This is a very useful post with some great advice.

Making A Mark said...

A really excellent post - and one for "who's made a mark this week"

Unknown said...

"As iron sharpens iron" -SO true. I like how you are applying your faith to painting. I often fail to do that & feel encouraged by your doing so. Thanks!