My Art Journey and Artist’s Statement

When I took up painting in February 2011 in order to mend a broken heart, I didn’t think I would have any talent at drawing or painting people or things – although I am very good at decorating and painting furniture.   It seems that I can draw and paint better than I thought I could.  It is amazing what good things can come out of a seemingly negative situation! 🙂  I was also inspired by a friend of mine who tried painting for the first time too and figured that as I am about trying new things, I would try painting things other than walls and furniture.

Below are  some pieces of work I posted when I first started learning how to paint.  I am completely self-taught.  I have gone to a few classes, but none of them have really given me what I have been looking for – structure.  I am one of those people that need it.  I need a process because I am unsure of what to do with what is in front of me.  I am good at copying things and is probably why I like drawing and painting still life.  It doesn’t move!

I have found loads of inspiration from YouTube and books.  Now that I am working full-time, I am not painting as much as before, but you can see what I have been up to on the main page of this blog.  Sometimes it is one step backwards, two steps forward, but at least I am still giving it a go.

In the late 70’s/early 80’s I used to work in SOHO in New York and worked for an art shipping company.  We were in the same building as some very prestigious art galleries at the time.  It was wonderful going to gallery openings and being around art.  I didn’t like it all, but hey who does?  It was about that time that artist’s statements were such a big deal, mainly because people have a difficult time understanding conceptual art.  Even Picasso has one now and he never did when he started!

So here is my anti-Artist’s Statement:

I am a Gemini (I could really stop here as I think it explains everything).  I am self-taught and inspired by others.  I am still figuring out my style as I love trying new things (I am a Gemini).  I love to paint flowers and nature, but am not adverse to painting a teapot, piece of fruit, or going completely crazy and knocking out some abstract, whimsical, or intuitive piece that has no particular meaning except that I might like the color combo or texture.  So, in the meantime, here is the work that I am doing while I figure out my style.  I may never have a particular style, but that is ok as I am a Gemini!

Yellow Teapot - Acrylic on Canvas - A4
Yellow Teapot – Acrylic on Canvas – A4

This is my first painting of 2013, started end of April and completed in May!  You can read about how I was inspired to get back into painting again.  Here is the link.

21.07.11 – Sunshine on a Rainy Day – Acrylic on Paper – A3
20.07.11 – Sunflowers – Oil Pastel on Paper – A3
20.07.11 – Sunflower – Chalk Pastels on Paper – A4
10.07.11 – Lilly – Chalk Pastel on Paper – A4

10.07.11 – From a photograph I took.  I still have masses of lillies in the garden.  I haven’t done one in chalk pastels til now.  My daughter calls this my Georgia O’Keefe stage.  If I could paint like Georgia O’Keefe, I would be over the moon.  Painting white flowers is extremely challenging.  I am really starting to get into painting flowers now.

07.07.11 – Iris – Mixed Media on Paper – A4 – now framed and hanging in my bedroom
27.06.11 – Lilly – Acrylic on paperboard – 9×12″
14.06.11 – Lillies – Oil Pastel on Paper – A3
06.06.11 – Lillies – Watercolour pencils and pastels on paper A3
03.06.11 – Lillies from my Garden

03.06.11 – My lillies are blooming in the garden, one of the survivors of my garden makeover.  I cut some for the house as I have plenty ready to bloom.  Thought it would be nice to carry on painting these using the water-colour pencils and crayons.

03.06.11 – Study of Asparagus

03.06.11 – Continuing to work with watercolour pencils and crayons, I drew some Asparagus.  Here is the work in stages, outline in pencil, filling in with colour and finally using water.


Tiger – Chalk Pastels on Paper

 09.05.11 – Tiger – Chalk Pastels on Paper – My cat passed away and I did this drawing of him from the photo above in his memory.

Life Drawing Class – Woman – 04.05.11

06.04.11 – I can draw naked women much better than naked men!   I really loved drawing this woman and should have used stronger paper as I would have liked to have kept this sketch.


16.02.11 – Well, what can I tell ya!  I drew a naked man for the first time!  I am used to working with the body, and have seen more naked men than I care to think about, so this wasn’t really a problem for me.  The artist who organised the class was very helpful with suggestions on how to go about drawing him and I worked out for me that less was more in this instance. I was getting too bogged down in the details.  The sketches were done in charcoal and marker pen.  The sketch in the upper right was done in water-colour pencils.  The large sketch was done freehand with acrylics.  I liked the last one the best.

15.02.11 –  This is the first ever painting I did.  I had my heart broken on the 8th of January 2011.  I started this painting on the 15th of February (after spending 3 weeks painting the walls in my house) as a way of healing my heart.  I found it quite therapeutic.  This item has been sold!

10 thoughts on “My Art Journey and Artist’s Statement

    1. Thank you for that. Time heals all wounds, although I still miss my cat sometimes. I make do with the cats I find on the streets. 🙂

  1. Hi Arlene. Love your blog – great to see you continuing to be positive and creative , when sometimes life is just the opposite! Interesting to read you have never found classes with enough ‘structure’ for you. I have been running drawing/ pastel based classes for a few years and I am happy to say, have a constant waiting list for spaces. One of the reasons (I have been told several times) is that I have always aimed sessions at beginners and provide step-by-step guidance, encouragement, demonstration and instruction. I thought all decent tutors would do this, but apparently not so! You’re doing very well and have a good eye for colour and composition – keep it up. All the best for 2016 x

    1. Thanks Fiona, the last watercolor course had a little bit of structure,but I think it was a bit too ambitious as there were a few people in the group who had been before when there should have been a more advanced class for them. Unfortunately, the person giving the class I took is not necessarily a watercolorist by vocation and is self taught. I have learned much from books and a few people on youtube. It would be great if there was someone where I lived that taught more structured courses, but until then, I will try things on my own. Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂

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