Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Back In The Zone With Still Life . . .

acrylic on 9x12 canvas board

Lately I have been feeling scared when it comes to my art. I feel like I am jumping all over the place in the art world which I think is ok sometimes but it has become distracting. I will always do photography (its my first love) but I really want to develop my painting skills. My fear is in doubting my skills, doubting I will ever find where I fit in, doubting that I can even call myself an artist. I hate feeling this way. I hate that I cannot enjoy the process of creating. I hate that I focus too much on the product and what will fit in my etsy store. I haven't been able to focus on painting because I am afraid to paint ugly. But I don't realize that in the "ugly" can be something amazing waiting to happen.

So today I decided that I would get back to a canvas that had been staring me down for months. It was a still life I started last year and repainted it twice. I hated the colors, the way I couldn't stay in the lines, and how I had trouble blending. I wish I had taken a photo of it before I painted over it today because you would not believe how much better it is! And what is more important is that I can see that myself. I can see the progress I have made as an artist (dare I call myself that). I painted today just to paint. Just to feel the paintbrush moving on the canvas, to get in the zone so to speak without worrying what it was looking like. I know that technically this is not right but it looks good to me. And I didn't even fuss over the colors. You all know how notorious I am for that! I like the muted colors, the white candle, the peachy vase against the gray backdrop.

I will be adding some yellow flowers to the vase and highlighting more but I wanted to share my progress so far! I will be sure to post it when I am finished. And I hope I don't leave it in the corner waiting like my urban landscape!


  1. It's looking pretty good to me Cathy. We all do that, start a canvas-put it down, start it again. You should see the incomplete canvas I have in the studio. I don't think you should doubt yourself, you are a good artist and will become an even better artist as time goes by. I always feel like you do, that's why I don't list anything on my Etsy anymore. I started feeling "my stuff" wasn't good enough to sell, so I took everything out of Etsy. Had yard sales and most of my bangles sold. I haven't tried selling prints yet but that's next on the list. Chin up, you'll be fine. Take care. I love your picture with your family pet member. So cute. I just put one on my sidebar of me and chocolatte, taken last Sunday. Take care, you are good at what you do.

  2. What you are describing is typical when starting to learn different forms of art. Here is the thing; do you want to make a *product* or do you want to learn skills? With skills you can proceed to try and make things that sell.
    But I have to say that there is a great over-emphasis on art being *good* if it sells and *bad* if it doesn't.
    Always put learning first--it is the foundation that everything else is built upon. And put Etsy way after that.
    Art, pure art, comes first.
    So go with it!


  3. Oh, wow, do I ever know what you are talking about, as does every other artist. Especially us who didn't allow our inner artist out to play until later in life. I go through the same thing, wanting to paint to sell, but then I get stuck - I'm out of the creative flow. And then I create things I love and think that nobody will want to buy them. It's hard being a confident artist... :) Like Anne said, art first!! Your still life is beautiful!! Can't wait to see it with the flowers... Love, Silke

  4. Cathy, I don't like to see you being so critical of your work! I can tell you from experience that you're going to be one unhappy Cathy trying to paint so that everybody will think it's perfect....acceptable...and like it! Just focus on doing what YOU like! Enjoy the process! I mean, as much as Van Gogh is touted as being FABULOUS...Uhhh....I don't want any of his art on MY wall! {All due respect to those who do!} I think people like what they like. You be YOU!...Just one Wug's opinion. LOL

  5. Cathy, you are an artist - it shows in everything you post be it photos, painting, altered photos. I am lucky as I don't "have" to sell my art to survive as some do. If it sells I am happy, if I trade it I am happy, if I give it away I am happy. I do my art to make me happy and if others find some joy in it then that is all the better.

    Your still life has a wonderful beginning and your shading and highlights are perfect. The colors are very nice also. Paynes Gray is one of my favorite colors to use for backgrounds, any gray really works.

  6. *hugs* hon. Glad you are finding your way with this painting. Paint what you love, for happiness' sake xx

  7. Love the idea of the yellow flowers with this; this is a beautiful beginning!

  8. :)) even if it waits in the corner as an urban landscape :))... to be painted again and again...this is such a BEAUTY of a start, truly! i can totally relate...some of my favorite end results were painted and painted till i wanted to throw them out...but didn't and VOILA, one day, ACTUALLY LOOKED GREAT!! HAPPY WEEKEND! XOXO

  9. hi Cathy you are most definately an artist and I think it is very normal to question your work and direction from time to time. I do it too and sometimes wonder where I'm going with it all. Have you thought of taking part in 'Paint party friday'? The link to that particular blog is on my side bar. It might inspire you by seeing other peoples styles etc. I think you are doing a fantastic job with this still life. I've also been catching up on your previous posts. Loving your altered photos especially the sepia ones. So beautiful. Congratulations too on selling your fairy she was sooo cute! Keep going with your wonderful work I'm always excited to see where it is taking you :0)