An Artist’s Dilemma

When I was younger, I did a lot of photography, mostly in black and white. When I first began doing color photography, a good friend whose photographs I admired gave me a piece of advice. The best color shots, he said, we often those that were similar to black and white, that is, they used a very narrow color range.

I’ll admit, I sort of scoffed at that idea at first, but then as I looked at photographs I understood what my friend meant. He was right. Although there’s a place for bold, bright colors, there’s much to be said for the limited palette in both photography and art.

Therein lies my dilemma.

I love works that are almost monochromatic. When I go to art galleries or view paintings online, I’m always drawn to those that have subtle colors. They seem to evoke more moods and emotions for me. In my life, you see, I’m a fairly quiet, reflective individual. I don’t like crowds. I don’t like noise. I like peaceful, serene surroundings.

So, it would seem only natural that I would also love painting with a limited range of colors, and, yes, I do. At times. But I find that I tend to get bored with it, so I go back and forth, using subtle colors one day, then going for big splashes of color the next.

Here’s my subtle painting for today.  You will notice, I hope, that I got the shape of my evergreens a little better, or, at least, I’d like to think I did.


I like a lot in the painting, but I think I want to work with more than three colors. My palette for this one was Titanium White, Phthalo Blue, and Raw Umber.

In many ways, the painting does reflect who I am as an artist, and I like that. At the same time, I want to explore so many other colors and ideas. Yet when I do paint with bright, bold colors, it seems unnatural to me. I’m not a bright, bold person, so using vivid colors seems almost as if I’m being untrue to who I am.

Am I making any sense? Maybe not. It’s a tricky question, I guess, and it all goes back to finding who I am as an artist. I’m still searching for who I am and who I want to be.



      1. Thanks. No, nothing serious at all…just lots of little frustrations hitting on the same day…and the anticipation of a coming ice storm. I think we’ll be “iced in” all weekend, so I’m checking all our emergency supplies today. If power goes out, we’ll be eating lots of bologna sandwiches 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well that is good it is not something big with family or illness. Bologna sandwiches are ok for a while as long as all are safe and well. It is 60 degrees here today. Craziness.


      3. Oh, yes, we have the family and illness concerns. That’s a day-to-day worry with aging in-laws. They’re in the process of selling the farm and moving to Tennessee, so packing up or selling years and years of accumulated belongings is making everyone crazy, plus my husband’s older brother is in very poor health. I guess we’ve learned to take it all in stride and do the best we can. With the coming storm, at least we can keep foods outside to keep them cold, so if we do lose power, we won’t lose all our food. We just won’t be able to cook anything. 🙂

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    1. Why? Because when I look at paintings with the colors I like, they seem dull and boring LOL. I don’t want to be dull and boring. That’s my dilemma. At least, I don’t want to be dull and boring all the time. 🙂

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      1. hmmm…..maybe if you give your paintings a “sparkle” here or there…..where it is suitable. Also, taking lots of breaks while painting keeps your eyes fresh and you see what you need to do. I do this a lot….of course with watercolor, that is easy because you have to wait for washes to dry.

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    1. Thanks, Chealsycat. I appreciate the nomination. I’ve decided, though, to keep Artistcoveries “award-free”, so go ahead and share the award with another deserving blogger. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess my real dilemma is that I want to know who I am as an artist, but at the same time, I don’t want to pin labels on myself. I want an identity, but I also want freedom. I haven’t yet figured out how to reconcile the two. 🙂


      1. I feel exactly the same. Last year I wanted to find my own style by the end of the year and now I’m grateful I didn’t because I’m not ready to stick to one style yet. I know I’ve got lots still to learn. This year I’ve decided to explore a vintage look to my pictures.

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