I've been working on my painting skills over these past few weeks. I struggle though. The struggle is not just to find time to paint but to allow myself have the time and space to paint. Not sure what your take on painting is so I'll just speak to what it is for me, at this time. I like painting and I'd like painting to be one of my regular hobbies. I know that it isn't just a hobby but a skill that needs time, patience and lots of practice.
A painting can be an expression of an idea, a place real or imagined, a dream or be completely random and spontaneous. I usually creatively express myself in other ways like sewing or baking. Maybe it's because I prefer making something that I've had the most consistent successful results with. I should persist with painting because in time it too will begin to have successful outcomes...
Learning to relearn how to paint...
I've taken drawing, painting and watercolor classes years ago but I feel like I've forgotten much of what I once learned mostly because I didn't regularly paint. I only occasionally painted. So this year my New Years Resolution, a first for me, was to paint more. I don't make New Year's Resolutions so I thought if I do make one it will have to be a resolution I'd actually enjoy doing. A resolution that would bring back something I would like to welcome into my lifestyle; something that would enhance my life as an artist. In deciding to paint more I needed to find at least one on line painting class. And this painting (below) is from the first class I took this year by Juliette Crane called How to Paint a Girl.
Take a break...
One thing I'm beginning to understand is that I'm just like any other person who struggles with creating. There are times of success, times of frustration and sometimes downright failures. Some days I have a clear direction for what I'm creating. Other days I'm totally lost and muddling through. I'm learning to identify and accept these cycles as part of the process. It's difficult to KBO (Keep Buggering On) so when things don't work out I'm learning what works for me... taking a few minutes, hours or days away from a painting can be helpful. Working on more than one project at a time can be helpful. Get involved in something else like gardening can help to change my perspective. Taking the opportunity to get past a mental block can be a great way to help me work through these difficulties so I can get to that next level of creative freedom and expression. The more time I work on and work through these moments the more I will begin to have successful outcomes; just like I do with sewing and baking! Truth be told even though I do have a lot of experience baking and sewing there are still times they don't turn out no matter what... so yeah all part of the process!
Using an existing skill for a new purpose!
I love taking photos! One method I've begun implementing is to take photographs of my painting at different stages. Using photos in combination with painting is a new tool for me! I'm enjoying it because I can see how my painting evolves. I like seeing the progression from an idea to where I struggled and it's cool to see where I discovered elements that helped my piece become successful. It is kind of hard to see one idea get covered up by another but by taking photographs through the stages I can always look what I've lost and use the idea for another painting in the future so that's kind of cool. When a painting seems like it's not going anywhere or like I'm not having fun anymore taking a color I like and painting in a playful way helps. These photos are a great way to take a step back from the work. Seeing how the colors are balanced and work together, how the elements are balanced is important to see where the piece is going and what possibilities are waiting to be discovered! Photographing my paintings seems an especially helpful tool when I'm struggling.
Here's the first idea I had for this painting, a fairy girl in a garden... So I put a bunch of paint and ephemera on the canvas and started to carve out shapes but when I stepped back I wasn't liking the uneven wings, her hair or the ephemera after all... So I snapped a photo. Then I took a color that I do like and painted over all the stuff I didn't like. I kept at it and putting other colors on the canvas overlapping them and dripping paint all over and scuffling in some new shapes...
As you can see a lot has happened between that first idea and this next photo. I applied many layers of color I turned the painting this way and that so I'd get interesting drips. I added trees and that big grey cloud. I added more detail to her face and dress. And with some time and energy and perseverance the whole thing was a lot more appealing. And although it is quite different than it began I really liked where it was going.
This is the finished painting! I really worked hard to get this girl to emerge. It was hard but I spent several days painting her, the path she's on, the trees, the shading, the cloud, the cityscape and the snow in order to get them to look as they do. And I believe the work I put in payed off! This is one of my more successful paintings and I couldn't be more pleased. It may not seem like much but from three simple photos it's easy to see where I started and how far the work has come.
Change is good!
I ended up changing the initial theme but really this snow scene suits me better. I really love the blues and greens together. Her dress is such a cheerful green and the belt, which is really a bit of ribbon, is so sweet! To me there's something very magical about snow and shadows. The city and the cloud is a bit gloomy but it's behind her and with each step into the forest she's leaving the city behind. And what a coincidence! I moved from the city to the country! And I'm much happier for it. I know I can always go back to the city for a visit. Maybe someday I could even live in a city again but for now being in the country and seeing the stars and smelling the fresh air is so completely magical that it rejuvenates my soul everyday!
Thanks for stopping by. Please feel free to leave me questions, comments & feedback about my painting, Aurora Leaves the City Behind.
Enjoying the sunshine,