When I'm making art, I have one rule for myself:
Because if I'm not having fun, why am I doing this? I've spent too many years chained to obligations, pressure, and worry. I finally realized that I was being overly responsible, and it was making me miserable much of the time. Now, while I still have obligations and responsibilities, I take care to enjoy each day.
What does this have to do with developing my style? Everything. In the past, I was always trying to paint what I thought someone else would like, or be impressed by. Trying to show how clever I was. Trying to make the painting look just like the object. An exercise in frustration, as I was rarely satisfied with the end product, and I certainly didn't enjoy the process as much as I could have.
As my dad, the art teacher, has said many times, "It's not about the product; it's about the process." Well, Dad, I finally get it.
Now I create art to please myself. If other people like it, great! If not, that's ok. I focus on enjoying the process, from the selecting the subject, to choosing shapes, colors and values, to deciding how to apply the paint.
I LOVE BIRDS. Always have. As kids, my sisters and I learned the names of all the backyard birds from our grandparents and parents. I love to hear a new birdsong while on a hike, and try to spot the bird, and hopefully identify it.
I take lots of photos of birds. And for me, it doesn't matter much if the photo comes out perfect or unfocused. The photos are just for reference. I look for an interesting stance, a curious attitude, or a movement. And when I draw the bird, I try to play fast and loose with the lines, shapes and colors.
I've been inspired by lots of artists, lately especially by two: Carol Carter and Travis Black.
Carol Carter taught me an entirely different way of painting watercolors in a workshop in 2018. She uses saturated colors and simplified shapes to create exciting pictures. She can take any subject and make it surprising and fun.
I found Travis Black's work on Instagram. He painted a series called Chirp. He has a way of breaking a bird shape into abstract shapes using wild colors and textures. Just gorgeous!
I played with their techniques, and have finally come up with something that's fun for me, and fun to look at.
Here are some of my birds.
|Bean Pole Chickadee 11x15|
|Whattya Lookin' At? 15x11|
|Sparrow Perch 15x11|
|Big Leap 15x11|