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 onerous time following by means of on this concept even once they do know what it’s they love to color!

Let me inform you a narrative.

A couple of days in the past, a pal 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 assumed, they’re nonetheless in demand!  

On a summer season 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 ladies of a sure age. I smiled as I listened to them gossiping a few pal who’d lately taken up with a brand new man who they didn’t approve of. Apart from 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 couple of extra photographs. 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a decision to color them despite the fact that I used to be certain nobody would need to purchase work of a gaggle of outdated ladies. 

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. Offered.

Boy was I fallacious. 

I painted these growing older ladies as a result of I liked the imperfection of their our bodies and the attractive 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 an entire shock when not solely did all three work promote, however the prints I made 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 eagerness I had dropped at portray these ladies, got here by means 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 this present day! 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 Seaside Women Membership #3,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Offered.

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

We could be so influenced by exterior influences and expectations that we will 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 will be one other no. (Positive I painted a couple 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 want as a result of we doubt our capacity. 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 awesome final result when portray this new-to-you topic. Paint it and permit for the choice of an terrible outcome (maybe solely in line with your judgment). Then paint it once more. And once more.

Paint what you’re keen on! For those who do, you may be happier for the doing of it. Even in case you suppose nobody will prefer it, even in case you suppose it received’t promote, even in case you suppose others can be shocked by it, even in case you suppose you received’t have the ability to do it justice, I say, paint what you’re keen on. And don’t fear about all these What-ifs! Be taught from my very own expertise. 

Discover what topics make your coronary heart beat a little bit quicker – these are the themes that talk to you as an artist. They might not communicate to different artists however they communicate to you. Concentrate. Pay attention. Then don’t fear about what others will suppose. Don’t fear in regards to the finish outcome. Paint with ardour to your topic and that can come by means 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 at all times, 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 over time that I really like portray figures. I’m additionally interested in the way in which mild 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!