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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.


Cecilia