I really enjoy painting all things, all styles. For years and years I wanted to be able to paint beautiful flowers. Lots of them. I studied history, artists, techniques to learn new ways. This was great, but it still didn’t help with me create my look to flowers. I painted for 20 years searching for that direction.
In 1997 I started adding the Dutch Masters to my studies. That helped but still didn’t give me many new ideas. It did expand the looks though of my brush. I practiced and practice my flowers trying to make them correct. What I wasn’t practicing though it the “Art of Painting Them”. What is that?….. It is the secret to painting beautiful flowers, landscapes, scrolls, and just about everything.
For years I thought to be a great Rosemaler or style artist, I must study and study those styles. Then one day, while studying Eugene Henri Cauchois (19th century French impressionist floral painter) I came across something that completely changed my thinking. Halfway through his career as a floral painter he went to study with another artist. A portrait painter. You never see portraits by him but you do see a change in his compositions and skills. Why? He didn’t study the flowers to learn how to paint flowers. He knew that. He studied something new, a different art form, to change the way he painted his flowers.
For the past 5 years I have done that. I have painted all the genre. Some I don’t enjoy. But, I paint them to change my brush. Break my habits and learn something new that will change my brush. This is what artists do! You study, not to copy styles, but to allow those styles to change your brush.
I tell my students all the time, to create new ways to paint flowers, you must paint the seascape…. why? Because seascapes are different. That artists approach them differently. That difference give you ideas for flowers. When studying landscapes I learned about planes in the painting that set the depth. I use those techniques in my flowers. I now “see” flowers in planes. I would be doing that if I didn’t paint landscapes. The movement of the sea taught me just how important that stroke is. DON”T PLAY. Each stroke has so much power. Now, I paint more limited and paint with more power. Just like the sea.
Of course study flowers, roses etc to paint them. Yes, learn the flower techniques. But, if you want more ideas on how to create new things, want to break bad habits, we must follow the artists before us. Study other things. Paint it all and more ideas come to you. Paint a seascape will break the bad habits you have with flowers because you use the brush differently and will become accustom to using it differently. That is the key!
When I teach classes, or go to conventions, I will many times hear someone say… I don’t want to paint that. I don’t like that style…. Inside I say to myself, that is sad will never be an artist, you will not even be great at the thing you like to paint because your eyes only see one thing….. I never say that. That is limiting. When you make limiting statements, you limit your abilities as well. Expand your studies. Learn other ways to see and see it through an “artists” eyes. That is the key to painting. There are many ways to render a path of color. Learning only one is very limiting. In the last 5 years I have grown more as an artist than I did it the previous 30 years of painting because I paint all styles and genres now. I have more ideas. It works. Go paint what you don’t like and become an artist. Learn to see new things. Learn something different, then apply it to what you like. That is the secret. Don’t always study just what you like. I highly suggest you read the blogs of DeAnn and Brenda. The links are on the left side of my page. Read their thoughts and journeys. They have a lot to share as well. Have a great painting day!