Sunday, July 27, 2008

Picking Up a Paintbrush

Crate on Chair

This chair painting is finished, and I have to say I don't like the way the checked cloth turned out, but live and learn. My intention is to have a series of chair paintings. All done in colored pencil, of course. They will all be the same size. I'm thinking I'll do six, so since two are done, I need to do four more. The first one I did was much larger, 20x16.

Teapot and Cherries
I've given some thought to the good advice my new friend Susan Carlin gave me in my last post. She told me to save my money, not worry about going to an art school,  and just paint every day. She guarantees that practicing every day will greatly improve my skills in a year. I do try to draw every day, but the control I have with colored pencils is very different from holding a brush and choosing colors to blend. I get so frustrated with a brush! But she's right. Practice makes perfect, or almost. So this is my try for today. I limited my palette so I wouldn't confuse myself. This took about 40 minutes and I thought it was a good place to stop and eat some ice cream.


Bella Sinclair said...

We are our harshest critics, aren't we. I really like this composition, and I can't see anything wrong with the checkered cloth, to tell you the truth. I am always amazed at your colored pencil work. It's so hard for me to work with color. I can't even paint, but I honestly wish I could. Paint scares me. How do you mix colors? Which colors do you use? How do you show light and shading? Aaarg! That's why I give you a big HOORAY for experimenting and having the drive to learn.

I haven't taken a lot of art classes. Certainly not the month- or year-long study you're yearning for. Perhaps it would be helpful to have a teacher say, "Use bolder strokes here, pick up that color there." But I think more than anything -- and I'm guessing here -- is that these art sabbaticals mainly encourage you to do what Susan says: paint, paint, paint. It's more fun and inspirational to paint with friends and with new things to look at. If you take a class with one teacher, you might end up learning that teacher's style, whereas if you keep painting on your own, you will develop your own style.

My brother-in-law started painting when he became a stay at home dad. I've watched his work get better and better, and I look at his work with envy and awe. He is mainly self-taught. You can see some of his pieces at

Your studio sounds like my dream! Wow! In answer to your question on my blog, yes, I used a wacom tablet. My husband saw me laboring with a mouse a few weeks ago and sweetly surprised me with a medium sized tablet. I am teaching myself Illustrator C3. And those little round aliens I drew? Very easy and not really impressive. I would love to one day be able to digitally paint on the tablet, rather than just use it as a glorified coloring book as I do now. :)

Thank you for always leaving kind comments on my blog! I enjoy coming here and getting inspired, not only by your wonderful art but by your determination and enthusiasm as well.

Susan Carlin said...

Ok, I just love this painting. It feels completely integrated, the red around the teapot and cloth is a great counterpoint to the blue. It has a loose, confident, playful feel that is SO attractive. The fact that you can pull this off in so short a time tells me you've got the goods, Girl! Thanks for saying nice things about me. ;)

Deborah Ross said...

Wow, Bella. Thanks for all your encouragement! That's exactly how I feel about paint, too. Very scary. Your brother in law does a very nice job! I think you should move down the street from me. :-) We have lots in common, but I'm a total zero on the tablet so far.

Gosh, Susan. You made my day. I'm going to keep chanting as I get ready for bed,'I've got the goods, I've got the goods.'

Angela Fehr said...

Hi Deborah, thanks for visiting my blog! I hope you can find something useful in it - I still feel like a new blogger!

I tell all my students that if you love art enough you will just keep doing it, and gain the skill in the process.

For me, if I had spent a lot of time in studying art under a teacher, I think it would have been far too easy to lose my artistic identity in the process. I am easily influenced and I want my art to speak with my voice, no one else's. You can't be taught something like that. Course you end up learning your technique by trial and error, which can be a slow painful process!