So Happy to Be Doing Art Again

Hello, everyone! It’s been a busy three months since I went “back to school” to resume my art studies. Yes, I’ve learned a lot over these recent weeks, and I’m thrilled to be posting here again now. I took “the plunge” and dived into oil painting. I’m loving it! It is, of course, a totally new learning experience. I’m actually very pleased with the results I’ve achieved with my first few paintings.

Before I start showing off my canvases, I want to recap some of the most important things I’ve learned.

  • My earlier work wasn’t really all that bad.

This came as quite a surprise to me. For such a long time, I refused to think of myself as “an artist”, and I felt certain that my work was amateurish, awful, and something I should be apologetic for.  But then, after several months away from my art studies, I returned and saw my earlier drawings and paintings from a different perspective. Maybe it’s partly a sentimental thing, maybe it’s all the memories those earlier works evoke. Or maybe it’s true that — as so many of you tried to tell me — even my beginner’s works had a certain individual style and showed potential. Especially when I sit down with my burgeoning portfolio of early drawings, watercolors, and acrylics, I am amazed to have created so many pieces of art, and pleasantly surprised by the quality. Some, of course, are better than others, but I’m happy that in my eyes, I can definitely see the possibilities those early works show.

  • I love seeing the world as “an artist”.

I once heard someone say that painting is good for our souls if only because it teaches us to see the world in a different way. It’s so true! During my “art break” I worried that I might lose that artistic point of view. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Especially now with oil painting, I do find myself studying scenes more closely, being much more observant of the subtle changes in color, the play of light and shadow, and the essential shapes of things I see. It’s a fascinating perspective from which to view the world around us. I’m glad I have developed this ability.

  • I don’t care for acrylics.

I did enjoy watercolor, but I never fully embraced acrylics. I still have quite a few paints in my studio, but I doubt that I’ll use them. As artists (and yes, I now feel comfortable in using that term to describe myself) we have our likes and dislikes. We have our affinities for certain media, certain styles, certain subjects. And we have those that just don’t “do anything” for us. For me, that’s acrylics. I can’t pinpoint any particular reason. I can only say that while I thoroughly enjoyed watercolor and am totally loving oil painting, acrylics just never did much for me. I’ve now dropped acrylic painting from my studies, and I won’t miss it.

  • I am very glad I took the time to learn the principles of drawing.

Years ago, I believed all artists had to learn to draw. I couldn’t imagine it possible to paint in any media without knowing how to draw. I was quite shocked, in fact, when an artist friend (a painter) told me “Oh, I don’t do any drawing. I’m a painter.” How could that be possible? Well, today, I understand that it’s quite possible to paint without first learning to draw. Maybe I wasted a lot of time. Maybe instead of learning to draw I could have just learned to paint instead. Maybe I’d be much farther along on my artistic pathway had I followed that route instead. Maybe. But, all the same, I’m glad I know how to draw. I enjoy drawing immensely! I love sketching with pencils, or doing charcoal portraits. Even more, I love the knowledge I’ve gained. I’m glad I know the various “elements of art”. I’m glad I know about perspectives and proportions. If nothing else, it gives me a feeling of confidence and a “can-do” attitude when I grab a canvas and begin painting.

  • I am the artist.

This is one of the most important things I’ve learned! It’s not just that I am an artist, it’s that with any piece of artwork I do, I am the artist — the one who makes the decisions, the one who has the freedom to express myself as I see fit.

Although my studies still involve a lot of “lessons” and tutorials, I’m much quicker now to try different things than I was in the past. I’ve learned that although there are guidelines to follow, there are no absolute rules. I’ve discovered that I have the right to do as I please, to take chances, to trust my own instincts. It’s a wondrous feeling! simple-flourish-divider-clipart-1So now, it’s time for me to show-off my first oil painting. Of course, I still feel obliged to offer my usual disclaimers. I’m still learning. There’s a lot I could improve upon. I made a lot of mistakes in this painting.

At the same time, I can happily say that I really like this painting, as simple as it is. For a first effort, it far exceeded my expectations. I had fun doing this painting, so much fun that I couldn’t wait to do another…and another.


“Winter Scene” by Judith Kraus 12 x 16 Oil on Canvas


You’ll probably notice that the painting is unsigned. Actually, I did sign it, but the signature was too big and clunky, so I wiped it off. Yes, even with oil paints, I can correct things! I was very glad to learn that.

I have a nice new “script brush” on order, and once it arrives, I will definitely be signing this — and future — oil paintings.

My one regret is that I haven’t figured out how to successfully photograph my paintings. The colors I end up with are not what the actual colors are. In the actual “Winter Scene” painting, the ground is white with snow. The color of the sky is a gentler shade of blue. If anyone has advice, please share!

Although most of my works will be oil paintings now — I feel as though I’ve truly found my artistic calling and passion — I will still be studying figure drawing, doing occasional pastels, and having fun with gesture drawings, colored pencils, and other media.

I’m grateful for everyone who follows my blog and shares this incredible journey with me. As when I first began this blog, I’m hopeful that my experiences may in some way be inspirational to others.
















    1. Thanks, Jodi. I’m really loving oil painting — which is sort of surprising. I was so afraid of it for a long time. I’m glad I finally got brave enough to give it a try. 🙂


      1. Yes, there is a distinct odor to oil paints. I did find an odorless cleaner, and that’s good. I’m making such a mess though! I have to find a way to work a little neater. Using my kitchen as an art studio isn’t ideal. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t have an area to do art until my daughter got married and I got her old room. It is nice to have an area that you can leave your art supplies out and you can return to it. Is there an old room or area that you can re-purpose for your art studio?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Not really. We have three bedrooms, but the second one is my office/writing room/art room — which is where I do my drawing. The lighting is so bad there, plus it’s so small, it wouldn’t make a decent art room. The 3rd is guest room and storage room, which wouldn’t be practical for a painting room either. Plus all the bedrooms are carpeted. I’m so messy with oil paints, I’m sure I’d ruin the carpet if I tried painting anywhere other than the kitchen. My husband doesn’t mind me leaving my paint supplies out. I just wish I had a little more room. I have a nice easel/desk and the lighting is good in the kitchen (north light) so that’s really the best place for me. I just have to organize a good system for keeping my brush cleaner and brushes. After painting today, I had oil paint all over me! Fortunately I had on an old T-shirt 🙂 Mostly I just have to get myself and my painting area more efficient and figure out what works best for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Looks beautiful! It is so hard to photograph paintings. I’ve only managed to get somewhat representative pictures if the room has a lot of natural light, and that still doesn’t work well if there is a lot of contrast in the piece or if the light is too concentrated from one source.. trying to photograph a painting of a cow or a black and white Boston terrier on a dark red background was a serious challenge! Hopefully someone else has some good tips 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think finding a natural light source will help a lot. Last summer I sometimes took watercolor paintings out onto the porch to photograph. That won’t be too practical during the winter LOL! I’m glad you liked the painting. As a beginning oil painter, I was quite pleased with it. I’m excited about painting more now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Cathy! So good to see you again. Yes, I’m seeing myself as an artist, and I’m understanding my right to take creative license and express myself as I choose. There’s a wonderful sense of freedom in that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lolol. I saw that and giggled because I remember your horror this year when you bought oil by mistake and used it and it wouldn’t come off your hands!!!! That was such a cute story. I am glad you like oils as much as you do. I feel the same way!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And now, I’ve been able to use that Phthalo blue! I haven’t tried the Dioxazine Purple yet, but I will soon 🙂 I’m mostly using cheap oils from a little set I bought at Wal-Mart, but soon I’ll be investing in better quality paints. I think one bad habit I have right now is getting too much paint on my brush. I’m going to work on correcting that. I know I’m wasting a lot of paint — judging from how much ends up on me, my clothes, and my paint rags!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have what I call the uniform that I wear every day which is clothes that I don’t care about because I am a very messy painter. I have found my favorite thing to wipe my hands on is my shirt so my husband gives me his old t shirts. I have given myself over to looking like abstract art. I use my apron for the pockets mostly…and also to wipe my hands on. 🤔

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yeah, my favorite baggy white T-shirt (formerly my husband’s) has now become my painting shirt, and it’s already getting to be quite colorful. I need more room in my little workspace (a corner of the kitchen), and I need to learn how to get my brushes cleaner. After I “clean” them — yeah, right — I wipe them dry on an old rag, and there’s still so much paint in them that I’ve ruined a lot of paint rags. So, can I throw my oil-paint-stained T-shirt in the washer? Will I ruin other clothes if I wash things together? Do I need any special detergent? Are you glad I started oil painting and will be bugging you now with endless questions! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I wash my painting clothes separately from my good clothes. Dishwashing detergent takes off paint that is still wet, lighter fluid or turpentine or turpenoid or whatever you use to clean your brushes takes off dry paint.

        My taste buds changed and I couldn’t tolerate sour or bitter so I quit using solvents all together and wash my brushes with soap and water after I pinch and pull it through my rag or napkin or whatever.

        Ps…I have washed paint clothes by accident with good clothes and no problems…

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I think I’ll definitely wash my painting clothes separately. Good to know about the dishwashing detergent. Perfectly Posh sells some great exfoliating soaps, and they’ve been really helpful in getting soap off my hands 🙂 The solvent I have for my brushes is odorless and is supposed to be “safer” than turpentine, but it doesn’t seem to do much for cleaning. I’m going to check out other options the next time I go art shopping. Thanks for the helpful info on laundry. BTW, I sent you a friend request on Facebook.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Thanks! I think I’ll try washing my painting clothes tomorrow. I’ll probably throw in a little bleach. I was gone all day today, so my plans are to spend most of the day painting tomorrow.


      8. No special detergent. I use napkins or toilet paper to wipe my brush on vs rags or paper towels (seems like a cheaper alternative for me).

        Liked by 1 person

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