Making a better painting than I did yesterday

Stuart Bush Studio Notes, Great souled way

Making a better painting than I did yesterday

I stand in front of a blank canvas. All the thinking and preparation is done.   Inspiration from direct experience and reference material is in my head. New ideas are no good to me now, my overthinking mind needs to stop.  I have a conviction; to make a painting.  I want to make a better painting than I did yesterday. However, as I stand there, I realise the act of painting is a mystery.


Without hesitation, all I can do is pick up a brush and focus on the first mark.  After that, I am painting.  I like to add a coloured ground across the canvas to get started.  I could do this mark or that mark.  My will takes over.  I might start over here or I might start over there.  What colour do I need and how much paint do I need on my brush?   The whole thing is a choice of uncertainty.  All I know is where I am and where my focus lies.  I am standing a foot or two in front of the canvas and this is where I grow. As I stay focused and I hold nothing back.  I want to give it everything.  But most of the time I don’t know where the decisions come from.

Featured image – Stuart Bush, The Great Souled Way, 2020, oil on canvas, @all rights reserved by the artist

Getting started in the studio

The obstacles I face to complete this painting are where I am going to develop.  Somehow my subconscious knows what to do next.  Progressively the strokes come out of me.


It is reported that Edison tried 3000 times before he built the incandescent light bulb.  He said he didn’t fail 3000 times.  Edison said that he found 3000 steps to building a light bulb.  Of course, painting is different, however, treating it like an experimental work gives me the mental strength to keep trying.  l don’t want failure to upset me.  I want to keep driving on.


At times it can appear that a painting is fruitless.  I make myself stop the worrying thoughts of success or failure.  The idea of failure is not allowed to enter my mind.  However, pain seems to be a precondition of painting.  If it was easy, I wouldn’t want to do it again tomorrow.  All I can do is focus on is putting myself in front of a canvas.  What will be will be!  From the failures and successes, I will try to learn lessons.  I look for a lesson, no matter how small.

Stuart Bush Studio notes, great souled way

©Stuart Bush, The Great Souled Way, gallery shot, all rights remain with the artist

Making a better painting than I did yesterday

After each painting session, I want to feel like I have given my best.  I want to feel like I have improved.  I want to feel like I made a better painting than I did yesterday.  Sometimes get a sense in my heart, that I am moving in the right direction. However, my judgement has been known to be wrong.  My solution then is that when I feel l have finished, I often turn the painting against the wall.  At times, it has taken me six months to digest the lessons I learnt in that one painting.


When I look at my early paintings, I can see the clear, small, progressive steps that have happened over the years.  Now, over 14 years later, I know I have made significant progress.  Each painting supports the next one.  Even though I sometimes feel that a painting might seems like a backward step, in fact, I have learnt an important lesson.  I have learnt what not to do again.


I have a conviction. Over the years of my work, I can see progress.  That’s what I hold on to. I firmly believe in what I am doing.  My competition is with myself.  I want to make a better painting than I did yesterday.

Stuart Bush Studio Notes, better painting than yesterday, The great souled way

Stuart Bush, The Great Souled Way, Framed Print available click image

Stuart Bush Studio Notes

Join the readers who get new art, writing, and interesting links delivered to their inboxes every week.

Congratulations to Jenny Saville from London for winning my June print giveaway. The print ‘Just a feeling and not just the truth’ looks great at the bottom of your stairs, on your hall wall.
It was nice to meet you, talk, and chat by delivering the framed print in person. I hope your husbands gets better soon. Best wishes.
It is easy to feel helpless, like we are in the flow of the river. And we are looking for something to grab hold of. To pull ourselves out. This is where I think art can make a difference.
Connecting us with our sense. I hope my print can help to do that. I’m into beauty, but not pretty pictures. I want to make something that rattles you and makes you think. Art on your wall, and this print in particular, can help you to reflect on the moment, and the past and of course the present.
When you look at it once, it hasn’t sunk yet. It takes repeated viewing. When you live with an artwork in your walls and you see it everyday, the artwork slowly reveals itself. #printgiveaway #artprints #framedartwork

I don't know what it is but I am sure it is highlighting some kind of truth. ‘Great Souled Way’ #oilpaintingoncanvas #figurepainting #abstractpainting #londonart ...

Not sure where I am going with this one. Today mistakes. Work in progress #workinprogress #todaymistakes #oilonaluminum ...

@stuart.bush New painting, please help with suggestions for a title. Or please DM me if you have any questions about it #oiloncanvas #figureinthecity #inthestudiotoday ...

Reed Hoffman said “if you're not embarrassed by the first project you launch you're too late” I feel awkward and uncomfortable showing these new artworks for the first time. It is still #workinprogress ...

#stuart.bush #oilonaluminum #newartwork ...

@damienhirst #ilfracombeharbour #publicart ...

@stuart.bush photo from current show @rugby_art_gallery_and_museum #artistsoninstagram #artist #artexhibition #paintingexhibition #oilpainting #inthecity #figure #contemporarypainter #contemporarypainting #citylife #londonlife please click my bio to join my mailing list ...

Final day of my show, @Rugby Art Gallery #artgallery #artistsoninstagram #paintingexhibition #figurepainting #artwork #painter please click on my bio link to join my mailing list ...

@stuart.bush #figurepainting #sketches #art #paper #gesture #artistsoninstagram ...

Leave a Reply