Early in my painting journey, I counted a painting a success if it looked like my reference photo.
That’s not my goal anymore.
I think it’s common for many artists to start out painting a realistic style, and then over the years, their style develops and becomes more interpretive. My theory here is that as a mastery of the medium is achieved, self-expression becomes the priority.
It’s funny to me because most of my time is spent with non-artists, and these are people who are scornful of abstract art. They don’t get it, and don’t want to. And that’s okay. It actually makes it easier for me to paint as self-expression because if I’ve lost a cross-section of my consumer group, I don’t have to be obsessing about painting what sells.
And I believe that if your work is genuine, that will be evident. The response to the recent paintings and exercises that I’ve posted online has been so encouraging!
And there is something incredibly fulfilling in painting as a heart/eye/hand connection.
The same week I purchased Jean Haines’ Atmospheric Watercolours, I had a niggling new idea. What if instead of starting with a wet-in-wet wash, I painted wet-on-dry and then used water to direct the paint and add looseness? As this idea was forming in my mind, I opened Haines’ book and here she uses that exact technique for her own paintings! I was actually a little peeved cause it was such a simultaneous development between realizing it myself and reading it in her book, that I can’t be sure if it was my idea or hers!
What resulted from that idea is my newest painting. I’ve titled this watercolour, Flower Girls. It was so hard to know if I was done when I reached this point. Because I struggle with overpainting a subject, I knew that when every quadrant of the painting held elements that I was really excited about, I could be done. It feels good to stop a painting while the excitement is still there!
How I wish you could see this painting in person! It’s wonderful.