The "Magic" of Painting

The painting process fascinates me. It is unique to every artist. When I first started painting, I always wanted to know “what comes next” from my instructor. I was afraid if I put something on the canvas in the "wrong order”, my painting would be a failure. I feel I've come a long way since then, but I do remember one day, it dawned on me. There is no "right" or "wrong" order or way - for me, there is only "my way". And it's usually more like feeling my way, with no clear path. As my dad used to say “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”. Granted, the foundation skills necessary to make a beautiful painting need to underlie what happens on the canvas, but the order of the steps within the process is not going to make or break my painting. At any point in the process, I can undo what I've done, change direction, or fix a problem I see. If I'm painting in oils, I can scrape off, wipe off, or add to it later. If I'm using acrylics, I can simply paint over it, since they dry so quickly. I can even throw it out - gasp! - if I want to. Once I realized this, I became a lot more brave and painted with more freedom. It allowed me to experiment with color and composition and try out new techniques, and as a result, loosen up my paintings. Not only did it facilitate the process of finding my own style, it was so much more fun! I will add here that “finding my own style” is ongoing - it’s a big part of the creative process and it gives me great joy.

Every time I begin a new painting, I have a general idea of how I’m going to proceed with it, but am always listening to my intuition and instinct and the possibility of changing direction. It’s usually during those moments that the “magic” happens – an unexpected brush stroke, color combination, or technique appears and takes the painting to a wonderful new place. I live for those moments in my studio and it’s what keeps me coming back. How does the magic happen in your studio? Please comment below and share your thoughts!

In the Beginning...

          A few years ago, I was invited by a dear friend to go to a "painting party" with her dinner club, hosted by the very talented Greensboro, NC artist Connie Logan. Connie was having painting parties long before they became trendy. Several months before, I had left my part-time job so that I could have the flexibility to be available to spend time with my father, who was in failing health in Alabama. I enjoyed the first few months of not having work responsibilities, spending more time with friends, and tending to neglected chores. But eventually, I became restless and was feeling the need to fill my time with something "productive" (aka creative). Little did I know, that night at the painting party would change my life, in a good way! When I saw the beautiful paintings in Connie’s studio, I knew I was in the right place! And when I created my own painting that night with her expert step-by-step instruction, I was hooked. I loved the thick paint application and beautiful colors. I couldn’t wait to go back the next week and start taking her classes. I had time on my hands and the perfect project!

Painting Party with my friend, Beth, at Connie Logan's Studio

Painting Party with my friend, Beth, at Connie Logan's Studio

             I have always needed to have a creative project of some kind going on. Creating something was my "reward" for the more mundane, daily tasks of life - something to look forward to and relax into when the not-so-fun stuff was finished. But I'm not a dabbler. If I'm going to spend my time on something, I'm "all in". Painting pushed all the right buttons for me - my obsession with color, my need to make something original and unique, my need for a finished product, and my thirst for learning. Not to mention, my love of beautiful art!

My first painting!

My first painting!

            However, going to painting classes once a week wasn’t nearly enough for me, so I purchased a few supplies and set up a small tabletop easel in our upstairs bonus room. I realized I had a lot to learn and it was overwhelming initially, but the urge to paint was greater. I was eager for the challenge and soon began looking around for classes and workshops to supplement my weekly class with Connie. I was insatiable – I felt like I was making up for all the years I had secretly wished I could paint but never had the opportunity to explore. While I've been known to become obsessed with things, this was different. Painting felt like a long lost friend I had finally found. It was the last thing I thought about before going to sleep at night and the first thing on my mind when I woke up each morning. My painting addiction was in full swing!

My second painting that hangs in my entry hall today!

My second painting that hangs in my entry hall today!

             Thank you for following me on this unpredictable and exciting journey! I have lots to talk about - what I'm doing, how I'm doing it, why I'm doing it, along with a healthy dose of overcoming obstacles that sometimes get in the way of my doing it. I'll also share studio tips, my favorite artists, and answer questions from my subscribers. I'll be posting at least once a week, so check back often! You can also follow me on social media by clicking on the buttons to the left and sign up for my newsletter! You'll be the first to know when new paintings are available or a new blog post is up. And take a moment to comment – I would love to hear from you!