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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coloring outside the lines

 "Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training."  -Anna Freud

I picked up this cute little project the other day in the dollar section. It came with three colored markers so you could fill in the uncolored areas.

As I "painted" the piece, it brought back memories of trying to stay within the lines when I was a child. Because that's how a picture was judged to be successful; by our ability to color within the lines; to follow the teacher's rules.  And I usually came away frustrated as I didn't quite reach the teacher's standards.

As an adult taking art classes, again I found myself frustrated because the teacher wasn't teaching how to develop my talent but instead teaching how to paint her way; to make her art. A "here's how you paint by following what I do" lesson. Again, coloring inside the lines. And I felt like a failure because I couldn't replicate her look 100%.
The teacher's - starting the painting
The teacher's almost finished
I'd cringe when she came by because I knew I hadn't gotten it like hers and generally got a comment or two about how I had failed.  So I'd quit that class after a time, completely discouraged. Trying to paint within the lines those teachers set just wasn't working for me.

Mine finished My pumpkins aren't like hers or anything else for that matter.

I can remember when I painted this picture, all I got was negative comments. Plus, the teacher came along, grabbed my pencil and changed it without asking, telling me I needed to pouf the hair and some other things.  It didn't sit well with me. I never liked it as it was no longer my drawing/painting.

This one also got frowns. She was teaching how to paint sunflowers - hers were in a vase and I put mine in a wagon. Never mind the flowers look ok and the wagon wonderful. I didn't do exactly what she did:

I can't tell you what a relief it was to finally find a teacher who encouraged me to develop my own talent. He was kind and helped me improve; he found the good in each effort then pushed me to become better; he encouraged me each step of the way.

A "redo" of the mailbox painting in acrylic.
While not perfect, it was my painting all the way. The boy's
hair isn't poufy - it looks like the photo

I started learning about shapes and values while painting my own subject matter:

And when I told him I wanted to learn how to start a painting without tracing, he challenged and pushed me out of my comfort zone. He wouldn't let me get away with sloppy or half done, but he was never mean about it.

From leaves like this:

To this:

And to this:

And flowers like this:

To these:

And these:

 I've learned more and come further than I ever thought possible.

From Life Drawing Class - Same model but from two different years

 I no longer cringe when someone critiques my paintings because I'm not following someone else trying to do their painting. Instead, I have finally learned to color outside the lines and it is good.


Friday, August 2, 2013

A Gift of Thanks

I love to give gifts. Especially ones that have a meaning to the people I am giving them to; ones that bring joy. That's how this latest painting came about.

It was a surprise. I "borrowed" a picture from them because it was cute and pretty and I needed to practice faces. But I also wanted to bless them somehow as they give so much of themselves in service to my church.

So thank you, Jennifer and Justin. I hope you know how much you are appreciated.

Linked up here: The Dedicated House Make-it-pretty-monday-week-60

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Love/Hate Thing

I take a life drawing class on Tuesdays. I have to admit, it's a love/hate kind of relationship.

I hate it because I'm a perfectionist and this is not a class that is about perfection. It's about improvement. I hate it because it stresses me out ( see above reason). I struggle most weeks to make my drawing look like the person; sometimes I come close but more times than not, I don't quite get there. And gesture drawings...yikes! How much can you put down and at the same time be accurate before the pose changes? Sigh, so I hate it.

But, I also love it. It helps me develop my artist eye, so I can see more clearly. It is challenging. It's helping me improve my paintings -a lot. I'm doing something I never thought I could do. And yes, my drawings actually look like the person sometimes. So, I love it.

We will soon break for the summer. Painting class will continue but life drawing will be off for the summer - I'm a little sad but also ready to stop for awhile. Somehow, I will have to make myself practice so I won't lose what I've learned and hopefully will come to love it more and hate it less.

Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Been Forever

It's been forever since I posted anything here...I've been busy with painting though. I did manage to finish a couple of new paintings and have a new one well under way.

I did this one for my brother before he died. He and I talked about what he liked and I did my best to capture that. He loved nature and felt a deep connection to wildlife. He told me his favorite animal was the raccoon  and told me a story about finding several baby raccoons and playing with them. He loved to hike, snow ski, camp out, etc. He liked butterflies - a lot. And he said he wanted to live in a "Hobbit" house in his next life. He did get to enjoy his painting before he died. I am glad for that. It is titled "His Spiritual Journey".

He stands at a waterfall with his animal spirit looking over him, while a flight of butterflies show the way to his new home on the far horizon.

I do like mixing a touch of fantasy in with reality. It was a fun painting to do although the circumstances were sad that lead to me doing it.

Now I'm busy painting a new one - this one without fantasy. Just a sweet covered bridge from our trip to New England a couple of years back. Ah, the memories!