Letting Your Painting Speak to You


Finding My Inner Cat – Mixed Media on Paper – 4×4 inches

As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently received a new book called Artistic Expressions, by Staci Swider.  I heard about her book from another blogger on WordPress.  I did a little research, liked what I saw, and ordered the book.  The problem when working from art books is that most people will follow the instructions exactly.  I am guilty of that myself.  Why is that a problem?  It can be a problem because your work will end up looking exactly like someone else’s.  If you can follow instructions, like I can, and are newish to painting, like I am, then it can be difficult to find your own style and voice if you are copying somebody else all of the time.

So, how do you find your own style and voice in your painting?  I don’t know.  I am still trying to figure that out.  However, by looking at art that you like and finding out more about the artist, maybe you can take bits and make them your own.  When an artist writes a book, they are showing you how they do things.  There is very little out there that hasn’t been done before.  It is just a matter of finding out what you like and making it your own.  People have been copying from each other for centuries.  How do you think the wave of Impressionism started?

So, where is the segue to my cat painting?  Well, I worked from the first lesson in my new book and the cat is my outcome and was my second attempt.  The lesson was on painting a rabbit.  On my first try of this exercise, the paper wasn’t saying anything to me.  I turned my paper around every which way and nada, nothing, nichts.  So I put it aside and started again. (BTW, I didn’t even do the lesson from scratch as I had some previously painted paper to use.)  I decided NOT to paint with my fingers the second time and just used a brush to add extra paint.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular and waited for the painting to speak to me.  Eventually, I saw a cat head and took it from there.  The irony here is that I used to have an all white cat who lived to the ripe old age of 13.  He could be mean sometimes.



3 thoughts on “Letting Your Painting Speak to You

  1. Wonderful post, with some really good points.
    It can be difficult knowing where your style and voice blends with someone elses. And, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
    Thank you for sharing~

    1. Arlene

      Thanks Jenn. My problem tends to be that I am really good at copying and following instructions. I try and use my own photos for inspiration but sometimes struggle for ideas on how to proceed. This painting lark doesn’t come naturally to me, yet! 🙂

      1. I feel your pain in all elements there! Some books just make themselves to easy to follow to the letter too.
        I am so pleased I found your blog today, it gives me hope and inspiration to keep plugging away at ‘this art thing’
        Thank you.

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