Sunday, 28 August 2011

A journey begins

I'm slowly getting into painting more. I've been painting with acrylics for over 15 years, but I haven't really pursued my hobby very "seriously". It all started when I signed up for a class in acrylic painting with a local artist. I loved the class, and the artist's style, his creativity, and his ability to share his tips and tricks. After all these years, I still go to his classes, the only exception were the two years when I was studying abroad. The classes only take place during the winter half year, and it's a mixture of instruction and a place to create of one's own. A place to create, chat, drink coffee and eat croissants, exchance ideas, get inspired and encouraged. It's a small group, max. 8, some of us having gone there for 10+ years. It's a relaxed atmosphere and I always look forward to the Saturday mornings spent there. But for most of the time, those classes used to be the only time I took up my brushes and paints. I even used to leave all my painting stuff there during those months (and putting them into the basement during summer, never to be touched until class started again). I was so busy with my studies, getting my qualifications, trainings, and finally my job, that it took up all my time and drained my inspiration, and even though I always would have liked to paint, I somehow never did.

But now, after having completed my degrees, and settled in my job, I got the urge again to pick up my brushes and paint. After all those years of following instructions and applying someone else's ideas to paper or canvas, I find it hard to find and develop my own style (something I seem to have avoided somehow during all those years). I have the pictures in my head, but when I'm looking at the finished result, it's not at all what I had in mind, how I wanted it to be like. And of course, that's frustrating. But the only way to continue is to, well, just continue. After all, nothing is achieved without practise. And if you're not happy with your achievement, well, there's only one solution: more practise. And this is exactly what I'm planning to do now. Ignore that inner voice that constantly tells me that I'll never meet my own expectations, that I'll never be good enough. Don't think too much, just paint.

So yesterday I did a little exercice, something I had in mind, greens and blues, with a book pile in the same colours, without too distinct boundaries between subject and background.

Preparing the background (I feel that often this is my favourite part of the process). I've used an old book cover to paint on (fitting the subject :) ), and stuck some pages from old books on first. You can see them shining through the paint in some places.

Sketching the subject:

Piling it up:

The finished piece. I wanted to add some text, a quote or something. I'm not quite happy with it, though. Think I should practise a script suitable for adding texts to my paintings. I was also thinking of cutting out the words from an old book, but there are quite a lot of words, so it might become too distracting, and also, the old books I have for tearing up are all in German.

It could be better, but I'm also not totally unhappy with it either. I do have some great troubles though taking pictures and reproducing the colours accurately. I'll have to try out if it works better with a scanner!.

So this is the beginning of my journey, the journey of practising, getting better, and discoering my own style, and also to get more confident with what I'm doing and accepting my ability, including it's limitations. I'll try to document my journey here so that in a year's time or so, I can look back and, hopefully, see my progress. But however it may go, the important thing to remember is to enjoy what you're doing, whatever the result. :)


  1. I love that background - the technique of using old books and pages of text. I think I mentioned before that this sort of art is crying out to be touched and held as well as enjoyed visually. It's as real and tangible as the books themselves - something that photography can never achieve. And then the image of all the paints, the cloth, the brushes and coloured water - it must have a smell in that room that is unique to artists' studios and workspaces.

    The final result is very pleasing with the lovely shades of green/aquamarine and blues, but it is the atmosphere of art and creativity which comes across to me from these pages.

    Keep on creating!

  2. I really enjoyed seeing your step by step process, even just the background by itself looked great- so much texture, so rich, and I think the final touch; the quote really pulls it all together so nicely.

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