Creating Art an Act of Humility

“Only when [s]he no longer knows what [s]he is doing does the painter do good things.”

~ Edgar Degas

It wasn’t until I accepted my flaws, my troublesome ignorance of all things artistic, that I was able to finally put brush to canvas and exclaim “WHATEVER!”

I have been facinated with the idea of oil painting since I was a 10-year-old girl. I would get up at 5 a.m. before the school bus, just to watch Bob Ross turn big blobs of what looked like black and brown paint into majestic snow-capped mountains. I thought for sure he was magical.

As I got older and took art classes in college, I learned to appreciate art history and had a flourishing love for Monet’s and Renoir’s impressionistic style and Rodin’s magnificent and detailed sculptures.

But creating art myself felt like an impossible feat.

For as long as I can remember, I would have a vision in my head, but the second I tried to relay that vision onto paper or onto a canvas, it came out completely different than I thought it should. Actually, that’s something that I still struggle with every time I paint. I think it’s why I turned to photography at first.

I think there’s two issues to address when it comes to vision vs. reality.
1. Patience is pertinent
2. Maybe the vision was skewed to begin with

Like anything else, creating art takes time. Expressing your vision takes skill. And learning your style takes practice. All things I’m continually working on.

I feel so lost sometimes when it comes to the intricate details of oil painting. Imprimatura, various mediums, mixing paints, playing with light and shadows, composition, cleaning brushes – all of it requires research, practice, and patience. Sometimes the process can feel overwhelming.

But then other times I get lost in the process and just let it flow — flaws and all. And those are usually my favorite paintings.

I didn’t go to school for art. I have a journalism and comparative literature degree. I know very little, to be honest, about the process or the culture that surrounds the art world. I didn’t even start until I was about 40-years-old. Anything I’ve learned I’ve done so through books, tutorials, Youtube videos, and lots and lots of practice.

But I’m learning. And I’m embracing the process. And there’s nothing like the feeling of knowing you put your heart and soul onto a canvas, and other people are somehow moved by it.

I believe creating art, in itself, requires an act of humility.

You have to strip away all your fears, all your failures, accept the imperfections, and let the paint speak for you. It’s scary and it’s difficult, and nearly impossible to put into words, but it’s also therapuetic and exciting, and emotional.

And to me, forever magical.

My very first oil painting
Inspired by Bob Ross

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