Socrates is believed to have said those famous words that are so crucial in our intent to be the best us. I would think that by the age of thirty-four I would know myself. Well, maybe it is not as much that I do not know myself, and more that I am fighting who I am and how I work.
As I have said I am being challenged by my oil paints. I admire those artists that can make a painting with only the necessary strokes to make a masterpiece. Usually these paintings have areas of colors made by the loose brushstrokes and have at least a little texture. They just seem so fresh, that I wanted to paint like that. It did not work. I tend to get rid of the texture and soften the lines. When you have wet oil paints, this equals a muddy, dirty painting. After discussing my frustration with Robert, my husband and toughest critic, I came to the realization (with his help) that the style of painting I was going for was not me.
I have done several watercolors in the past that I consider to be successful. With watercolors you start very light and gradually add paint to darken. I tried that with my oil paints recently and was very pleased with the results. Granted, I still have to practice plenty, but at least now I feel that I am in the right direction. It was such a relief to admit to myself that this is how I work best. I want a bit more control. I want to soften the edges, and I am okay with that. So it's not Socrates, rather Shakespeare who said it best "To thine ownself be true". I know this, but somewhere along the way I lost my path. I think I found it again.
In the spirit of accepting things as they are, the leaves in the painting are from a camellia bush my mother gave me about four years ago. Every spring I look forward to beautiful camellias that I may paint, but they never come. This year I got one, but it was a bit odd looking. I now love the bush for its leaves and am happy with that. It is most likely that I will wait for those flowers next spring, but meanwhile I will appreciate and paint the leaves. I think they are gorgeous.