New Students are often fearful of putting the brush to paper. Some people are able to articulate this fear and its foundations, mostly not.
Many students tell me of the harsh and cruel comments they received about their art when they were young. From teachers, parents and friends – some well-meaning, some not, some from overt jealousy.
It’s not easy to stop this “stuff”, other people’s “stuff”. It gets in our head and, let’s face it, sometimes we can’t stop it in it’s tracks even as adults. Children don’t always have the same awareness (sometimes they’re better at it than grown-ups!) that perhaps the comments come from an adult’s sad place. Their bad day still affects us, it still hurts, we don’t understand – that’s ok!
What I want you to know is, you don’t have to be affected by other people’s fears or opinions. Mostly they’re irrelevant. Your own opinion and pleasure is what matters. As you grow, you will develop your art - learn, love and live your art.
The best way to banish fear is to just do it – just paint, no expectations, just enjoy the process and have fun!
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I painted with a tutor for many years as a serious-hobby watercolourist while I continued to work in my corporate career.
The great thing was, I would turn up to art class and she would have the subject all prepared for us: real-life objects, photographs, magazines, warm-up materials and ideas. We would have a big discussion about the subject and view it from several perspectives - she did a tonne of research and put many hours of thought into every session - how grateful I am!!
Although this was a fantastic resource at the time, this reliance became a burden I was not aware of. I found I could make time to paint but when I actually got to my studio time, I HAD NOTHING TO PAINT! I was so reliant on someone else providing my subject that I didn’t know what to do to sort myself out. I hadn’t given time to subject selection so I would be completely stumped!! Now I know why artists spend time drawing and painting their own hands and feet – because they’re there and they’re handy!!
This ‘problem‘ hit me again later when I studied with another tutor who had a completely different style. I was on my own having to bring my own subject matter. I had no-one to rely on but me … this was how ‘writer’s block‘ came about, I had nothing to paint but I did have my painting gear right in front of me, lol!!
The more I look for subjects the sooner they appear. The more I paint the more ideas I get.
"I keep wanting to get photos of those sheds, but always seems to be wrong time of day, wrong tide or wrong weather for stopping. Or... we use the road on the other side of the estuary!"
This is what happens if you paint photo realism or you are too dependent on photos - you're probably sunk because you are waiting for ideas to happen.
Ideas don't just happen - artists, scientists, engineers, poets, musicians MAKE IDEAS HAPPEN.
We don't have time to wait.
The ugly truth? No matter how long you wait, you will never get your perceived "perfect photo"
the weather will be crap, the light will be wrong - whatever! This is really just another form of procrastination.
There's 2 solutions:
when you get your horrible photos home, pick out the ones with the stuff you need and start doodling and sketching on a big sheet of paper.
make lists. Sketching is an idea generator.
ciao cari pittori xx
I discovered this scene on a road-trip to Wellington. For a few minutes it had great light, then it was gone. but not only that I couldn't zoom my camera in enough, I'd been driving all day and hadn't found my accommodation yet. no where to sit and soak up the ambiance so a little walk around the bay and a few quick snaps. Photos were terrible but quite a bit of information once I zoomed in.
I've seen many paintings of this scene and thought - wow, how boring - everything straight and lined up - how dull. What can i do to make this more exciting and engaging? I spent quite a lot of time doodling and playing and getting my head in the game!
PaintBox Tips, secrets, random thoughts,
Poetry in watercolour is made in the freedom of the here and now. Amanda Brett
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working - Pablo Picasso
There are no mistakes in watercolour, just some extra surprises!!
What my readers and viewers have to say
Your emails are so informative! I must confess I've watched a couple of your demos from beginning to end, and it makes me want to watercolor!!! I've only ever painted with oil or acrylics and haven't know how to begin with WC. Your content is excellent!
Thank you for your tips. They inspired me to practise and I realised I haven’t been loading the brush properly. I learnt about adding more paint, and not water, to washes. In today’s tips I like the idea of painting with purpose. Your tips are very helpful. I very much appreciate receiving them. Elizabeth
Hi Amanda I enjoyed your post and generous tips. Looked up Dan Burt I begin to see that you can colour any subject to give it pizazz so long as the tone and form is correct Certainly adding value now to my attempts Thanks heaps Annie
Yes very wise words. Agree with not fussing and agree with comments about good quality paint. Well written and inspirational as always. Cheers Janet xxxx
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