The tagline for this blog is “discovering the joy of art”, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since I began this journey, it’s that art truly is a process of discovery.
Sometimes those discoveries are somewhat intentional, as when I select books that focus on specific aspects of oil painting, or when I follow along with a tutorial in hopes of learning to improve a certain technique or skill.
At other times, the discoveries are more unintentional. They happen by mistake or as fortuitous accidents when I’m painting. I start off intending to do one thing, it turns out totally different, and I like what’s happened.
And sometimes discoveries come when I deliberately set myself up for little surprises, when I don my old painter’s shirt — one of my husband’s cast-off T-shirts — and approach my easel with a grin befitting some mad scientist. Aha! I rub my hands together with glee. What experiments do I want to do today?
That was my mind-set on Monday. I didn’t want to think too much about drawing and painting. I didn’t want to think about creating any works of art. I just wanted to have fun and see what might happen. I wanted to play with my paints. I wanted to try different things — nothing planned, just whatever came to mind.
Oh, did I have fun! And in the process of having fun, I discovered new ways of putting paint on my canvases, new ways of developing shapes in paintings, new methods of getting those soft, hazy effects and that wondrous sense of uncertainty — for lack of a better word — that is always a part of the impressionist paintings I love.
As I played around, I dabbled on new canvases and old. I came away with much that I like. The scene below — although still unfinished — represents feelings I had as I painted, feelings that I’m following a path that’s leading me deeper into impressionism, leading me toward a deeper understanding of what art is to me, giving me a deeper awareness of my own creative spirit. I titled the painting “Going Deeper”. I will work a bit more on it, but I already like it.
It’s another version of the same woodland scene I’ve painted many times before, in different seasons. This time, I imagined myself stepping deeper into the scene, almost letting myself get lost in those woods.
As I played, I made starting points on several new paintings, and I’m excited to see where I will go with them.
Of course, there are still technical concerns I need to work on as I develop this new — and very personal — style in my art.
- I continue to struggle with lights and shadows.
- I still tend to get colors a bit muddy in places.
- Getting details — fine grasses, twigs, and leaves — is a definite challenge.
- I can’t draw and paint buildings — yet.
I am working on these areas, and I see myself doing new things in new ways. I’m using different brushes, and I’m holding them differently now. I’m taking a different stance when I stand before my easel. I’m trusting my art guts more — and being a bit bolder about trying things. I’m experimenting. I’m exploring. I’m having fun.
It’s an exciting time for me as a developing artist, and I’ve come to understand that there will always be these highs and lows on the road I’m following. It’s part of the process. It’s the way we grow into new forms of creative expression.
I’m happy to be having fun with art, and I like this feeling of going deeper in my explorations. Getting lost in the woods has never been so delightful.