I did not go to college and study art, but I have always enjoyed making things. Over the years I have developed a love of many things. When I was a kid I liked painting ceramic figurines and I still have a few of the ones I painted that now adorn my kids bedrooms. I learned how to bead on a loom to make bracelets with intricate designs. When I married my husband, we were driving the 3300 miles between Alaska and Southern Utah at least a couple times a year. I taught myself how to crochet doilies and blankets to pass the time. As my kids grew I learned how to sew, and enjoyed sewing clothing for my kids, back when they thought it was cool for mom to make them clothes! I learned how to make sewing patterns and custom clothing, and how to alter patterns, and I thought for a while I would like to do that for a living. However, I didn’t like to alter existing clothes, and that seemed to be what people wanted. I liked creating new clothes. I took my girls to a friend’s homeschool art class, and loved what they were creating. She produced a series of art videos for Christmas, and that started my love for painting. I started to check out books at our local library, and buy books online and at our local book stores. I discovered I love painting!
When I first started painting however, all the books were about landscape painting, and the watercolor ones were about washes and layers. Not that I don’t like sweeping vistas, but I think in some regards they lose something when they are put on paper/canvas. They are still beautiful, but I want to be there, to experience it, not paint it (I have been learning how to paint landscapes recently, and as I have learned how to do so, I do enjoy them more and more). What I found more interesting was the smaller details, the up close. I found, and still in a lot of regards, find the background to be distracting. One day searching the internet I happened upon a class painting a wild rose, just the rose, a watercolor botanical. I did the class, and found what I love! Over the years I have applied that to flowers as well as animals. The technique uses very little water, very few washes, and often, depending on the size of painting, very small brushes. I always thought that watercolor had to be very loose, almost abstract, and I learned that done correctly, it can be very precise, very lifelike.
I have had the opportunity to go to many different shows and bazaars since I started to sell my art. Often the host of the show arranges it so that no 2 artist, especially of the same medium, are ever right next to each other. I understand why they do that, but as I have looked around, I love to see each person’s personality come through. I have learned that you could ask 4 watercolor artists to paint a rose, and you would get 4 very unique paintings, even if you had the same reference photo. Everyone has a personal style. That is what I love about art, it truly is in the eye of the beholder. I have also learned that because it is in the eye of the beholder, you will have some people that love your art, and some people won’t, and that’s OK. The other thing I have learned is that art is hard to sell, for some of the reasons above. But I am grateful for all my exploring through the years because it has led me to try different things with my art: note cards, fabric, lamps, cards, puzzles, stickers, key chains, etc. I have learned that art is very versatile, and with computers today, and the digitizing process, the possibilities are almost endless.
How do you find your own creative style? Sometimes it takes a lot of time, I’ve been working on mine ever since I was a kid. I am grateful for my interest in painting ceramic as I learned I do enjoy painting really early in life. When I learned to crochet I didn’t like making blankets. That didn’t mean I was bad at it, I just needed to find some other way to do it, and I did. I still love making doilies for my home and to give away to family and friends. My love of sewing over the years has led me to new ideas for my art, fabric panels for quilts and home decor. A love of exploring new things keeps me motivated to find new products. As we go through life there are many things we are drawn to, many things we have a natural talent for. Often, those are the areas we tend to focus on in creative manners. Often, something we see or experience later in life will remind us of something we loved long ago, and we can start again. Whatever it is, you are never too old to start creating. Creating is good for your mind, good for your heart and soul. I heard someone say one time that all the good things had already been done, all the good music had already been written, all the good art had already been painted. I am so grateful that is not the case!
Creating is a wonderful way to express ourselves, a great way to release tension and relax. I would love to hear about the ways you create and how you found your creative style, or what you are doing to find it now.