Return to Play

Sunflowers-Donna and Van Gogh

So, another reason I had stopped creating is because I couldn’t decide what to paint.  I love painting abstract flowers, but other people don’t necessarily like them.  I love painting faces, but I’m not very realistic and I’m still learning and working out my style.  I love painting the monochromatic Paynes grey aerial girls, but I need more colour and I don’t know how to incorporate that into the aerial girls…part of what I love about them is their simplicity.

And I was over thinking…I should paint a series…how do I paint a series?  What do I want to paint many of?  What size do I use?  What if they don’t sell?  What do I do with them?  What if I paint all of these canvas boards and they don’t have homes?  I was paralyzed before I even got started.

There was too much pressure on my art doing something for me…making money or getting accepted into a show.  What was the purpose if it didn’t?  Would I be a failure?

But seriously, the purpose of art is to cleanse the soul, find white space in your mind to meditate and be mindful in the process of creating.  To enjoy the mixing of colours, the happy accidents, the journey.  Art is so not about the finished product as much as it is about the creating, for the artist.  And for the potential owner of a piece, it’s about the emotion a piece conveys, and that, I believe, depends on the emotion the artist was experiencing during the creative process.

But I am an over thinker.

So I went back to basics, in a way.  I watched a free webinar by Donna Downey, about Van Gogh…how she has incorporated parts of his style into her art.  What was amazing and interesting about him and his paintings.  Why he was such a visionary.  What makes his pieces special and how to study an artist and make their thing your own unique thing.  And then, I did the lesson.  I painted sun flowers in a vase, with big chunky brush strokes and lots of paint.  I used complimentary colours to portray energy and vibrancy.  And I worked fast to allow the paint to blend on the page.  And I did this all on paper rather than on a canvas board.

Using paper in a journal that I had abandoned last year gave me the freedom to just play.  Because no one needed to see it.  And I wasn’t wasting anything if it didn’t turn out.  The purpose was to learn and to play.  To enjoy painting again.  To mix colours and let them blend, but only a little, on the paper.  To let go of performance anxiety and perfectionism.  And it gave me direction to interject some of both Donna’s and Van Gogh’s painting styles.

I love it!  It makes me feel happy!

I signed up for an online course by Donna Downey called Artist Studies.  Each month a new Artist will be profiled and studied and pieces of their style practiced.  I think it’s a brilliant idea, and once a month is much more manageable than once a week for me.  I am excited to see what I learn and how my style evolves.  I am excited to paint new items and learn what I like to paint that is individually me.  And I am excited to play and paint freely, and allow myself to learn and make mistakes in order to discover the happy accidents.

How do you decide what to create?  What inspires you?

2 thoughts on “Return to Play

  1. Love this blog post (well, truth is I love all your posts) because it inspires me to work on bigger paper. I love smaller journals that I can carry in bags/purses. The bigger journals don’t end up traveling with me. But now I’m going to look for an XL art journal. Or!! Or!! Use an old book that has sturdy paper so I can start with a gesso layer!! Ohhhh! Thanks for being the genesis of my breakthrough! ❤️

    1. It’s good to hear from you! I am so happy that my post was able to help inspire you to work bigger and more freely! This journal i made for a course called BOD…Book of Days…i used large watercolour paper, folded in half and bound together, with a canvas cover that i painted. It is SO fun. But yes, kind of big to carry around. Excited to see what you create!

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