I am telling the story of my journey through painter’s block. I decided that no matter how I was feeling I needed to keep painting. As I look back on these paintings, it’s hard for me to see what the problem was, but at the time it seemed as if everything I painted was not satisfactory. I have always loved the look of flowers painted with a dark background and I had 2 8″ x 8″ gallery wrapped canvases in my storage, plus beautiful springtime flowers blooming in the garden.
To be totally honest I think as a self-taught painter one of the things that was bothering me was that I didn’t have a tried and true technique. One that said “This is the way I paint, I just to this and this and this…” I still don’t. I have in this journey bought some painting courses, but even though they have tried and true methods, I don’t want to paint just like them. So one of the things I think I’m still seeking is the method that I use to paint, and that always changes for me. But that is part of who I am, as well. I happen to be one of those people who love change.
8″ x 8″ oil on gallery wrapped canvas
Even through these posts I am learning by putting into words all that I have been experiencing. I hope this will perhaps help someone else, or maybe you yourself have been through painter’s block and have something to share. Please do. 🙂
Paintings available at knaylorpaintings.com
Some time when I was pondering this Painter’s Block, I did this plein aire painting of the Oklahoma Redbuds.
12″ x 12″ oil on Ampersand Panel
I’m happy to say that this painting was featured on Open Studio Online. 🙂
It is probably evident that I have really been trying to be looser with my brush strokes, looser and more relaxed with my paintings in general. I think this is why I lack confidence, because I’m so nit-picky about details. This is one of the areas I realized that was causing this painter’s block. It is often scary going out of our comfort zones; we have to be willing to not just “test the waters”, but jump in. 🙂
8″ x 8″ oil on linen
Still working through my block by keeping on painting, I decided to join a challenge on Instagram to use their palette of the week to play with. That is what I did here. I just used the colors in their suggested palette and painted a bouquet from my garden.
I never named this painting and it was part of an Instagram giveaway that included pottery by my potter daughter Sage and a glass blown flower by my glass blowing daughter Tera. 🙂
What do you think? Kind of wild…?
I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything here since February… Wow! I think it’s probably because I’ve had a pretty rough summer with illnesses and allergies, and come to think of it I had some painter’s block. I guess I’ll start there and do some catching up…
One of my favorite portrait artists, David Gray, wrote a blog post about painter’s block that was extremely helpful to me. It all started when I was feeling confused about what direction to go with my art, and Maggie Greenway, an artist on Instagram posted this quote…
Road to Mastery
~ James Whistler
Her question was “Where are you on this road to mastery?”
It really got me thinking and here was my reply, ” Feeling very consciously incompetent just now, almost paralyzingly so. Don’t know what road to take…”
This is when I came upon David Gray’s blog post titled Painter’s Block
I thought the post was so reassuring as he suggested to just keep on painting, or do a copy of a master, or open up a sketch book and start drawing to see what ideas that sparks, or go to a museum, or paint with others, and most of all be patient with yourself. He assures that your creativity will come back.
After reading the post I grabbed a ruler and a sketch book and began to draw lots of little squares to work on color charts suggested by Richard Schmid in his book Alla Prima II.
I had to laugh when I looked at all the “blocks” I had drawn. That was a beginning…that was in May… it is August now and I feel a lot better about things… I think David is right. Be patient with yourself, your creativity will come back.
I’ll be posting more here about this journey. I hope this will be helpful and inspiring to some. Have you ever experienced this? Where are you on this road to mastery?
Have any of you heard of a cushion bush? When I saw a photo my daughters brought back from their trip to Australia, I couldn’t resist trying to paint it. She told me that you could actually sit in these bushes and relax, and that they are really comfortable. 🙂
12″ x 12″ oil on gallery wrapped canvas
Leucophyta brownii (also known as Cushion Bush).
Leucophyta brownii is a small, rounded shrub with tangled tomentose branchlets that give it a silvery appearance. It commonly occurs on the exposed faces of cliffs and dunes on the south coast of Australia. Although it can grow up to 1 metre high, it is more usually 0.2 to 0.7 metres high. It produces flowers during summer (December to February in Australia). These are white – yellow globular heads and about 1 cm in diameter. ~ Wikipedia
I didn’t participate in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge for January 2017, but I did get a few paintings done in January. This one is for one of my daughters who took a trip to Tasmania in October. She loved this storm coming in over the Bay of Fires, so I tried to capture it for her in this painting.
18″ x 24″ oil on canvas
Snow is a rare event in Oklahoma. A couple of weeks ago we had a really good 3 inches and cold enough temperatures that it stuck for a while. I love being the first one out of the house when it snows…making the first foot prints…listening to that crunching sound under my boots. Here is what it looked like from our front gate…my impression anyway…
12″ x 12″ oil on canvas