Winslow Homer once said "Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems." I'd like to focus on the last part of that statement. As an artist, solving my problems is discovering solutions. There are a variety of avenues that I can take to arrive at a solution, and here's an example. Those of you who've been following my work for awhile know that some of my posted eggshell paintings are repeats. That's because I've been busy for the past two months preparing 34 oil paintings for an upcoming solo exhibition next June. Half of the canvases were completed last year, but the rest are new. It'll take me a few more months to complete all of them, so my eggshell painting is on hold for a couple more months. Yesterday, I hit a technical "wall." I've been painting for decades, but just couldn't find the proper technique for rendering two of the paintings. After experimenting for weeks without success, I put down my brushes yesterday and spent some time reviewing old notes to see if I'd forgotten something. Nope! Couldn't find anything. So, where can I find other possible solutions? Ask advice from professional artists, read more books on oil techniques, keep experimenting, step away for awhile to refresh my creative mind, complete a series of indepth analyses of successful paintings to discover a useful technique, and - my favorite - persevere! Don't stop until I've found the answer. I love this aspect of painting: the challenge of problem-solving. Isn't that part of being a "professional" artist? If I were a professional button maker I'd have to exhaust every avenue to find ways to solve production problems so that I could fill orders on time with a quality product. I couldn't just give up. And, as Homer suggests, the artist needs to be independent. How successfully I solve this technical problem depends very much on my personal and independent decisions. Now ... back to problem-solving!