Paint What You Love (And Ignore The NaySayers!)

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

Let me let you know a narrative.

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

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

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

After I had the images developed, I couldn’t wait to color them! I made a decision to color them although I used to be certain nobody would need to purchase work of a bunch of previous ladies. 

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

Boy was I flawed. 

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

So yeah, it was a whole shock when not solely did all three work promote, however the prints I product of them have been a few of my greatest sellers. (For years, I used to promote within the Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island.) I realised, the eagerness I had delivered to portray these ladies, got here via 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 ladies, lovely 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 Seashore Women Membership #3,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Offered.

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

We may be so influenced by outdoors influences and expectations that we are able to find yourself portray topics that won’t actually resonate with us. We might imagine that landscapes are interesting to many individuals and so we should 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. Offered

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 capacity. We predict, “That’s simply too laborious for me to color.” And so we don’t paint the very factor we’re pulled to color!

In these circumstances I say, let go of your personal expectation of an ideal consequence when portray this new-to-you topic. Paint it and permit for the choice of an terrible end result (maybe solely in response to your judgment). Then paint it once more. And once more.

Paint what you’re keen on! For those who do, you can be happier for the doing of it. Even in case you assume nobody will prefer it, even in case you assume it gained’t promote, even in case you assume others will likely be shocked by it, even in case you assume you gained’t be capable of 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 just a little sooner – these are the topics that talk to you as an artist. They might not communicate to different artists however they communicate to you. Concentrate. Hear. Then don’t fear about what others will assume. Don’t fear in regards to the finish end result. Paint with ardour to your topic and that can come via. 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! Are you aware know what you’re keen on to color? And do you paint it??

Till subsequent time,


PS. I realized through the years that I like portray figures. I’m additionally drawn to the best way mild illuminates a topic or how colors could 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!