Paint What You Love (And Ignore The NaySayers!)

Paint what you’re keen on. We regularly hear that encouragement, don’t we? It appears apparent and fairly clear but I do know a few of my college students have a extremely onerous time following by way of on this concept even after they do know what it’s they love to color!

Let me inform you a narrative.

Just a few days in the past, a buddy of mine requested me if I had any extra greeting playing cards with the picture of considered one of my work within the Vesuvius Seaside Women’ Membership assortment (sometimes called The Vesuvius Women). Oh my, I believed, they’re nonetheless in demand!  

On a summer time day a few years in the past, I used to be portray at Vesuvius Seaside on Salt Spring Island. Chatting away close by had been 4 girls of a sure age. I smiled as I listened to them gossiping a couple of buddy who’d just lately taken up with a brand new man who they didn’t approve of. Moreover realising that some issues by no means change it doesn’t matter what age we’re, I saved pondering, There’s a portray there!

So I snapped some photographs of the group as they sat chatting. Quickly after, as they headed to the ocean for a swim, I captured a number of extra photos. I continued portray. Earlier than I packed as much as go, the 4 girls returned and I grabbed my digital camera as soon as once more. (And sure, this was the time of digital camera and movie!). 

Once I had the pictures developed, I couldn’t wait to color them! I made a decision to color them though I used to be certain nobody would wish to purchase work of a gaggle of outdated girls. 

Paint what you love: Gail Sibley, "Vesuvius Beach Ladies Club #2, pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Sold.
Gail Sibley, “Vesuvius Seaside Women Membership #2,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Bought.

Boy was I improper. 

I painted these growing old girls as a result of I liked the imperfection of their our bodies and the gorgeous shapes they made. I liked their numerous swim costumes and the sensation of various characters that emerged. I did these work for me!

So yeah, it was an entire shock when not solely did all three work promote, however the prints I fabricated from them had been a few of my greatest sellers. (For years, I used to promote within the Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island.) I realised, the fervour I had dropped at portray these girls, got here by way of loud and clear. And, certainly, I can see know that there’s a universality to the topic that made it interesting to so many, even to at the present time! I simply didn’t see that on the time. All I knew is that I used to be drawn to color these girls, stunning of their maturity.

Paint what you love: Gail Sibley, "Vesuvius Beach Ladies Club #3, pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Sold.
Gail Sibley, “Vesuvius Seaside Women Membership #3,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Bought.

For me, this expertise is not any higher proof that, as an artist, the perfect factor to do is to color what you’re keen on!

We might be so influenced by exterior influences and expectations that we are able to find yourself portray topics that will not actually resonate with us. We might imagine that landscapes are interesting to many individuals and so we must always paint them. Or, as in my case, we love being in the panorama subsequently I ought to love portray them. Ahhhhh, no. 

I raised and liked a parrot household. Does that imply I ought to love to color them? That might be one other no. (Positive I painted a number of pastels of them however actually, my coronary heart was with the creatures not the portray of them.)

Gail Sibley, "Aloysuius," pastel, 8 x 6 in. Sold
Gail Sibley, “Aloysuius,” pastel, 8 x 6 in. Bought

Generally we’re actually drawn to color a topic however we don’t give up to that need as a result of we doubt our capability. We expect, “That’s simply too onerous for me to color.” And so we don’t paint the very factor we’re pulled to color!

In these instances I say, let go of your individual expectation of an important consequence when portray this new-to-you topic. Paint it and permit for the choice of an terrible consequence (maybe solely in line with your judgment). Then paint it once more. And once more.

Paint what you’re keen on! When you do, you can be happier for the doing of it. Even in the event you assume nobody will prefer it, even in the event you assume it received’t promote, even in the event you assume others can be shocked by it, even in the event you assume you received’t be capable to do it justice, I say, paint what you’re keen on. And don’t fear about all these What-ifs! Study from my very own expertise. 

Discover what topics make your coronary heart beat a bit sooner – these are the topics that talk to you as an artist. They might not communicate to different artists however they communicate to you. Listen. Pay attention. Then don’t fear about what others will assume. Don’t fear concerning the finish consequence. Paint with ardour on your topic and that can come by way of. Paint what you’re keen on! And in doing so, you’ll share your emotional response whether or not joyous or unhappy, offended or hopeful, amused or proud.

As all the time, I’d love to listen to your ideas about this matter! Have you learnt know what you’re keen on to color? And do you paint it??

Till subsequent time,


PS. I discovered through the years that I like portray figures. I’m additionally interested in the best way gentle illuminates a topic or how colors might shock me. This may occur in landscapes, nonetheless life, portraits, animals, and concrete scenes in addition to with figures. I paint what pulls me, no matter it’s!