Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's Stopping You?

Once upon a time I belonged to an arts guild. I was the only photographer in the group, and several of the painters there kept saying I needed to learn to paint. Actually that mostly happened if I turned my camera towards them, which means they didn't like that much, I guess. Anyway, I never could draw and I told them that. They insisted, as artists always do, that you don't need to be able to draw to paint.

One day, when I was home alone, I decided to paint something, just to prove them wrong.  The problem was, I ended up surprising myself, and the resulting painting was more recognizable than I expected. So, I looked around for someone who could teach me how to work with brushes and I found a decorative artist within walking distance of my house.

I painted patterns from books with acrylics, and every once in a while I would bring in a photograph, and try to copy it.  The paintings never turned out the way I intended, so I'd say, "not yet" and go back to the patterns and the instructions in the books.  As time went on though, I did notice some improvement.

Then one day I was  introduced to watercolour and my world changed.  I still tried to trace around what I wanted to paint, but my paintings had more freedom. I was no longer trying to make the paintings look like the photographs. 

 Recently I decided to try painting without drawing any lines on the paper first.  Once again, I amazed myself.  You just never know what you can do until you quit worrying about failing and just try. 

I'm still no great artist, but I do love to paint, and I know I've come a long way.


  1. I love this! Thank you for helping me pull my head together. I'm taking a class right now that's heavy on critique. It's been great for my artistic growth but it also shook me a bit. I have trouble now getting started when I normally just grab my supplies and jump right in.

    Thank you for reminding me of this. I've got a beautiful commission in progress that I wibbled about for a week but this helped me understand that I'm not going to forget how to paint cats! It's not her photo, it's my painting. She already likes the underpainting, so I have the likeness. What's left is detailing and adding a few textures.

    I can do that. Thank you.