Paint What You Love (And Ignore The NaySayers!)

Paint what you like. We regularly 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 laborious time following by way of on this concept even after they do know what it’s they love to color!

Let me inform you a narrative.

Just a few days in the past, a buddy of mine requested me if I had any extra greeting playing cards with the picture of considered one of my work within the Vesuvius Seashore Women’ Membership assortment (also known as The Vesuvius Women). Oh my, I believed, they’re nonetheless in demand!  

On a summer time day a few years in the past, I used to be portray at Vesuvius Seashore 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 buddy who’d not too long ago taken up with a brand new man who they didn’t approve of. In addition to 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 number of extra photos. I continued portray. Earlier than I packed as much as go, the 4 ladies returned and I grabbed my digicam as soon as once more. (And sure, this was the time of digicam and movie!). 

After I had the images developed, I couldn’t wait to color them! I made a decision to color them regardless that I used to be certain nobody would need to purchase work of a gaggle of outdated ladies.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 Seashore Women Membership #2,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Bought.

Boy was I unsuitable. 

I painted these growing older ladies as a result of I beloved the imperfection of their our bodies and the gorgeous shapes they made. I beloved their numerous swim costumes and the sensation of various characters that emerged. I did these work for me!

So yeah, it was a whole shock when not solely did all three work promote, however the prints I manufactured 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 fervour I had dropped at portray these ladies, got here by way 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 at the present time! I simply didn’t see that on the time. All I knew is that I used to be drawn to color these ladies, stunning 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 Seashore Women Membership #3,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Bought.

For me, this expertise isn’t any higher proof that, as an artist, the perfect factor to do is to color what you like!

We will be so influenced by outdoors influences and expectations that we are able to find yourself portray topics that won’t actually resonate with us. We might imagine that landscapes are interesting to many individuals and so we should 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 beloved a parrot household. Does that imply I ought to love to color them? That might be one other no. (Positive I painted a number 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. Bought

Generally we’re actually drawn to color a topic however we don’t give up to that need as a result of we doubt our means. We predict, “That’s simply too laborious 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 personal expectation of a fantastic 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 like! For those who do, you can be happier for the doing of it. Even in case you suppose nobody will prefer it, even in case you suppose it gained’t promote, even in case you suppose others might be shocked by it, even in case you suppose you gained’t be capable of do it justice, I say, paint what you like. And don’t fear about all these What-ifs! Be taught from my very own expertise. 

Discover what topics make your coronary heart beat slightly sooner – these are the themes that talk to you as an artist. They could 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 on your topic and that can come by way of. Paint what you like! And in doing so, you’ll share your emotional response whether or not joyous or unhappy, indignant or hopeful, amused or proud.

As at all times, I’d love to listen to your ideas about this subject! Are you aware know what you like to color? And do you paint it??

Till subsequent time,


PS. I realized over time that I like portray figures. I’m additionally interested in the way in which gentle illuminates a topic or how colors might shock me. This will occur in landscapes, nonetheless life, portraits, animals, and concrete scenes in addition to with figures. I paint what pulls me, no matter it’s!