I Wish My Art Would Quit Judging Me

ChippyA set of 150 watercolour pencils – a gift from my husband – challenges me to paint.  In the busyness of moving, I have let this practice slip, and a number of sketches sit in my portfolio case waiting for me. B&W stilt

Inspiration comes from the photos I take.  The lone turtle (featured), for instance, begged for me to sketch him, stretching out his neck and posing just so.  I didn’t know turtles could be so vain.

This chipmunk, reaching up to take food from my husband, is also an outgoing fellow.  Not shy about human contact, I am sure he will covet his portrait, but he is not impressed.

“Go back to the drawing board,” he chirps at me.  “You need more practice.”

“How ungrateful!” I retort, thinking of all the peanuts we’ve fed him over the years.

This black & white stilt wading silently in shallow water, would prefer his privacy but how could I not at least attempt to capture his elegance.  He, too, questions my technique – suggests my colours are off.

Maybe, I should just stay away from blue, I think; it doesn’t seem to be working for me.

Of course, I don’t listen to my own advice.

face in cloudsI try my hand at a landscape, drawn to the image of the barren tree in the midst of a flourishing field.

I have also been obsessed with taking pictures of clouds and think perhaps the watercolour pencils will be a good tool to use for capturing the clouds lines, but the image is not cooperating.

The perspective is off and the fields refuse to demonstrate the rich greens of the original.  The blue pencil develops a mind of its own and whips up tornado like torrents, ruining my sky.  I set the painting aside in hopes that we can later reconcile, but when I revisit it later, I clearly see this will not happen.

The painting is mocking me.  There, where I intended clouds, is a face staring back at me.

I put the pencils away,  vowing to return to the paints next time.

(V.J.’s challenge this week is personification.  While painting, I often become aware of the art taking on a life, and attitude, of its own. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.)

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

18 thoughts on “I Wish My Art Would Quit Judging Me

  1. Many times as artists we know what we would like our art to look like but our hand skills take time to catch up with what we have in our mind. Seeing how we would like our artwork to improve/be is actually how we grow as artists. It’s not a fun place to be in but I think its part of the process of growing as an artist. We just have to try and enjoy that process.

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  2. Sometimes in the process of creating, art can definitely take on a life, and attitude, of its own. That’s the surprise factor. Creativity is about giving up some control; going with the flow. I use to paint with acrylics years ago which gave me a lot of control, but watercolours are so different. I had never worked with them and took a mini workshop two years ago and found it very challenging. There was so much to learn about creating layers and playing with the flow of colors. I need to revisit that art form one day. Love the poses of the turtle and the chipmunk. 🙂

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  3. I think all artists go through the angst that you talk of here. I’m reading the historical novel “The Forest Lover” by Susan Vreeland. It is about Emily Carr and finding her way as an artist. It is a fascinating read based on historical facts with some liberties, but you get the sense of Emily Carr’s struggle to capture the spirit of the BC Forests and the First Nations Culture.

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  4. There are always faces in the clouds. Perhaps your painting is trying to remind you of that. All of them are wonderful. The chipmunk story made me laugh. We have four just like yours!! Keep painting. 😊

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      1. It’s funny how we critique ourselves. But what we see as unfulfilling, others see something else. I think your work is refreshing, not forced to comply, but free flowing. That attracts my attention more than anything.

        Liked by 1 person

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