It’s Actually a Camel

Early on Monday morning, I finished my Peaceful Winter Scene painting. Overall, I’m pleased with it, but at the same time I’m not happy with all that I see here.

Peaceful Winter Scene

Now, to you, this painting might look like a peaceful winter scene, but it’s not. It’s actually a camel.

OK, I know. You can’t see the camel, and that’s a good thing, because I don’t do animals very well. If I ever tried to paint a camel… well, that’s not even a pretty thought. So, what in the world am I talking about when I say this painting is actually a camel?

Simple. One of my favorite bits of wisdom is the old quip that “A camel is a horse designed by a committee.” Think about it, and you’ll realize how true those words are. Committees have a purpose, and they have advantages in some things, but overall, committees can mean dealing with too many different ideas, too many different opinions, too many approaches to a problem, and too many compromises, resulting in something that pleases no one.

My winter painting wasn’t designed by a committee, nor was it painted by one, but to me, that’s how it appears. Each time I worked on this painting, the word that came to mind was consistency, or more to the point, its opposite: inconsistency.

I’m still at a point where I’m doing different things, exploring different styles, and learning different ways to approach oil painting. Fellow blogger, cathytea, recently commented about artistic style:

“…there’s no need to limit yourself to one style. It’s quite marvelous to have a range of expression and to surprise yourself!”

Yes, I’ll probably be one of those artists whose works are always all over the place — and I don’t just mean all over the house. I mean all over the place where style is concerned. But while I’m grateful to think that the art world allows such variance, I’m not comfortable finding it within a single painting.

To me, it appears that the soft, impressionist background was painted by one artist; the tress were done by another. Yet another artist completed the bushes, while another worked on the rocks.

Before adding in the final touches — those little bits of grass here and there — I stood at the easel looking at the painting for a long time, wondering which artist I was, and wondering, too, if my attempts to paint tufts of grass would add anything to the painting, or if I might only end up spoiling what was already done.

I added a little grass here and there — a bit half-heartedly — and I called it done. But now I’m left wondering again which artist I am? Oh, I know, I’m the entire committee, and that’s what bothers me.

I want to develop more consistency so that paintings I complete don’t look like figurative camels. I’m just not sure how to go about improving this aspect of my paintings. I suppose like so many other things, it’s very much a matter of practice. In time, as my painting skills become more developed and more refined, maybe my inconsistencies will gradually fade as my work takes on a more unified style.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll always be painting camels, and maybe that’s all right.


    1. 🙂 Thanks. I like the wintry colors. Of course, during the fall I loved working with the autumn colors, but now I’m definitely ready for a change. The winter colors are a lot more soothing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a lovely painting!☺ I must say it’s quite interesting reading your thoughts about it, but I don’t see the camel in it at all. You paint the way you do, and that leads to an unique result which is your style. It may change in time but I think there’s definitely a unified style in it all. this is great!☺

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  2. It is a nice painting, Judith and it’s been fun to watch it grow and develop, but, if it is consistency of style that you are looking for, here’s my 10 cents – I think that where you are in your journey makes every single painting an experiment, so, naturally, you do not have consistency because of always trying something new! That’s not a bad thing and I am sure you learn a whole lot, but, if it is consistency you seek, here’s another idea….how about if you did a whole series of small paintings on a similar theme over a short period of time? Many swear that the practice of daily painting serves to allow for experimentation whilst also developing a consistency of style. (It’s been about 2 years since I read Carol Marines book, ‘daily painting’ and really think she might be on to something!! 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, every painting is still a bit of an experiment for me. I try to do a little painting every day — except for weekends — so maybe I’ll naturally grow more consistent with time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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