Nothing to It

I think painting is probably easy for some gifted artists. Through the art clubs I belong to, I know quite a few of those, and true enough, they seem to approach their drawing and painting with a “nothing to it” attitude. Sometimes I wish I were one of them.

At other times, I’m actually grateful that, for me, art requires a bit of work. Sometimes, in fact, it requires a lot of work. Sometimes it’s even a struggle, and sometimes that struggle gets the best of me, leaving me feeling as though I’ve been defeated in a furious battle.

In recent days, that’s been the case more often than not. I painted that awful cow. I did a watercolor portrait in my “Faces of Summer” series — all of which you’ll be seeing later — and it was awful. My charcoal portraits? Awful. My cloud studies? Awful.

Yep, I was having an awful time with art.

But in the midst of my struggles, I came to a simple painting by Aubrey Phillips, part of my 100-day creative adventure project. It’s a lovely little scene at a lovely little beach, and he describes it this way:

This was a simple subject with, at first glance, very little content.

True, indeed. There’s really “nothing to it”. It’s nothing more than a bit of a watercolor wash with three figures standing on the shore looking out over what must be the sea.

“This I can do,” I thought. I needed something simple — and I simplified my painting even more. I have only two figures standing on the shore.

On the Beach (3)

Not a work of art. Not much of anything. That’s precisely the point. Sometimes we need to take it easy, to kick back, go to the beach, and just enjoy a summer day. That’s how it is in life, and it’s the same in art. Sometimes it’s good to keep it simple, smile, and say, “Nothing to it!”


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