Creative process — hard to explain in words

What’s happening with my art life? It is always growing and changing and sometimes it’s hard to say what direction I am taking, since I’m still working on figuring it out for myself. I love Plein Air painting, and look forward to the months ahead when the weather is more conducive to that activity. I like to paint outdoors when it’s warm and relaxing. I don’t enjoy fighting the wind or rain or snow. There are artists who do this, but that’s when I bring my camera to capture the scenery that I might later paint in the comfort of my studio. But just being outdoors in the elements, witnessing the view first hand, seeing the way the light hits the atmosphere or penetrates a leaf or a blade of grass, soaking up the colors that occur in nature, all add to the understanding of creating a landscape painting.

I would have loved to have gone to the Plein Air convention in Monterey, CA this month, but it was not in the stars for me.  The event was on the West coast and within driving distance for me, so it would have been a wonderful experience to go there and paint side by side with many famous and talented artists, and to learn from observing them. Also there were workshops and opportunities for hands on instruction from some of the best plein air painters in the world! Hopefully, next year the convention will once again be in a location I can reach. If I’m able to take the time, I’ll make the arrangements necessary to attend.

Painting outdoorsFor now, I’ll just brush up (no pun intended) on my painting skills during this year’s local “Paint the Town” event, which is refreshing and fun to attend. I want to look for new and exciting ways to view the landscape, the light, and the atmosphere. I may decide to use oil paints onsite this time around. I usually use watercolor. It will depend on the weather and my mood.

Painting, as with any visual art, is a creative process that is hard to explain in words. It comes from a deep place within and is expressed differently by each individual. The outcome of my own artwork is always a surprise to me, because even when I plan out a painting, for instance, the end result is never what I initially envisioned. The unexpected results are sometimes astonishingly different from my original intent.

Like any accomplishment, becoming a painter is a lifetime growing process. Each new work is an experiment and an adventure. With each new experience, I learn something new about color, about dimension, form, and light. I don’t know if I’ll ever arrive at a place where I understand the complexity of it all. I just rely on my feelings and my intuition at the moment. An ounce of faith, will hopefully carry me though.

When they asked Michelangelo how he made his statue of David he is reported to have said, “It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”  ~ Michelangelo

Easy for Michelangelo to say! 


* * After writing this, I attending a wonderful presentation by Mike Rangner, a plein air painter from the Mid-Willamette Valley, who is very inspiring. He may be holding a workshop for the artists in our group, Artists in Action. If so I will be going! This is really an answer to my prayers. His story of how he became a plein air painter and his approach to art is just what I need to hear right now. If you want to see his magnificent plein air paintings you can view them at: