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The first thing people say to me is “I can't even draw a stick person”. That is exactly what I said, when I mentioned that I wished ...

Thursday, January 21, 2016


The first thing people say to me is “I can't even draw a stick person”. That is exactly what I said, when I mentioned that I wished I could paint.

Finding that special creative part of you is like anything else you learn in life, you must look for it and work to develop it. Think positively, your first drawings and paintings may not look just like you “see” them,  practice makes perfect.

I find that I am most creative when I am loose and don't try to make an exact replica of the subject. Use your imagination, something we quit doing as we become adults. Children are quite adept at using their imagination we have to search within ourselves to find that magic once again.

Drawing and painting will help you find your creative center. We tend to see things in a quick manner, and don’t really look at the small things, instead we look at the “whole picture”. The forest rather than the beauty of a single branch hanging heavy with snow, a leaf, dripping with raindrops, the reflections of rocks and leaves in a puddle. The simplest things will begin to delight you when you truly look at them.  

Take Chances

Paint what you enjoy. Follow the thread of your interest even when you have no idea of where it might lead. It is a good sign when you have no idea what the end will hold. Sometimes the result is a disaster, but usually you will experience positive growth.

Striving for Growth

Realize what works for you, but don't get complacent. Search out your mistakes and constantly strive to improve. There is no perfect painting, no matter what your level of expertise. This is what keeps us moving ahead, learning seeking knowledge, from which we grow.

Tune the Rest of the world out

The struggle for self definition “finding yourself” can only be found from within. You must have enough confidence to ignore both compliments and criticisms, if they are contrary to your vision. Remember no one else can see or understand what you are striving for. You must reach the destination on your own. Don't paint for someone else regardless how “wonderful a subject is,  if it evokes no emotion in you it will never come to life for you.  If you are genuinely excited about something, it will reflect in your painting.

Don't avoid subject matter that you have seen someone else do

Throughout the long history of art just about everything has been done and redone. If you are true to your vision your rendition can't help but reflect your unique viewpoint. We all see things in our own way

What to Paint

As an artist we usually draw on two sources,  your imagination and physical observation. Sometimes I see something and it forms a picture of a painting in my mind. When I begin the painting, I assemble a variety of reference materials from which to draw on. The final painting takes on its own life, as I see it.

Physical and Mental Preparation

I usually do a fairly loose drawing, the painting isn't totally planned in my mind, but takes shape as I go. If I feel the need for more planning I will do some thumbnail sketches. Usually I have a good idea of where I want to go with it, in my mind, before I start the painting and other times it simply evolves.

Focal Point

I usually paint the background first, you can never regain the flow of it if you try to paint around objects later.  Once the background is dry,  I usually go right to the main topic, the center of interest., the heart of the painting.  At this point I will do a loose sketch with either chalk or just a runny mixture of paint.  Using gesso at this point, I will quite often paint the main area and then will have a light and brighter base to create the focal point. With the center of interest completed the rest of the painting is relatively easy. It is not until most of the background is covered up that the painting begins to hold together. This rarely bothers me as I am mentally filling in the blanks as I go.  

Have CONFIDENCE in yourself

If you don't feel you are blessed with the ability to envision the end product before it is complete, be careful of showing your work in progress to someone else. A negative reaction to it can dampen your original enthusiasm for it.   There have been many times I have felt like giving up on a painting only to find at the end when it is all finished it is quite beautiful.  I very rarely give up on a painting.

Stepping Back

As I work on a painting I will step back where I can see it as a whole.  When working close up, you become too focused on "one spot".    Also when I am done for the day, I will prop up my painting where I can view it while just sitting and relaxing,  I have an inner sense of when the painting is finished, but I will also do the prop and look for sometimes a week or more, it is amazing that all of a sudden something will pop out at me that needs to be corrected. If nothing pops out at me and I am feeling satisfied with the painting, I will then sign it.

Finding your Style

Find a subject and combine your observation skills with your imagination. Your job as an artist is to strike a balance between interaction with the world around you and your vision. This is why when 10 people sit down to paint the same subject,, you will have 10 different versions of it.

If you find yourself in a rut. Read an art book or with today’s technology go on You Tube, try a new technique, do something fun. Pour on some paint and see what it does, do some sketching, just let your imagination be your guide. Try something totally new, it might not work, but what if it does. Find that inner child the one who wasn't afraid to paint or draw things the way they saw it.

Every painting does not have to be a masterpiece, as long as it is fun while you are doing it.

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