I am at Art and Soul in Portland, Oregon now, teaching lots of classes and having a great time. Pix of this event are forthcoming, but in the meantime I wanted to post a video I made a while ago, and share with you an idea that has seems to have been helpful to people in my workshops recently: Looking At The Trees. As opposed to The Forest. Zooming in more than zooming out is another way to look at it.
The fact that each move you make on a painting changes the whole painting can be a bit intimidating, and leave you always zooming out, looking at the forest, to see how each brush stroke has affected the whole. This is an important part of the process, but I think we often zoom out way too soon. What we can end up with is a painting that falls short of its potential, a painting that grew up too quickly, that might be pretty on the surface, but lack depth and character.
While working on a painting, try focusing on the trees, zooming in, more than you zoom out. Pay attention to the process as you work, enjoy the feel of the paint, the pressure of the brush, the gesture of a scribble; look at the minutia: how this line crosses over that one, how one color affects another, etc. Enjoy the contrasts and contradictions; surprise yourself, let yourself not know where you are going, leave it open-ended.