Apr 5, 2009

“Know Thyself”

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.


  1. I think it is best to be true to your own style of painting. Learning from others is great and even trying it on for size, but when it comes right down to it, you've got to go with who you are.

  2. It's a hard one, I think we can study painters who we admire and try to mimic their technique, but deep down we're all individuals.
    I love your blog and your acrylics are beautiful!
    Am now following, so I'll be back...did you enter my Giveaway?

  3. This is beautiful, and a very good lesson for all of us to remember. It's usually painful, and ultimately impossible to not be ourselves! : )

  4. Art is an expression of the self and so you should try to be comfortable with what you express on canvas.
    I think the above expresses a very talented individual. This picture speaks a lot.
    I have often felt bad throwing away a fresh Christmas tree, in that when the sap flows , it looks as though it's crying and trying to stay alive even though the roots have been cut off ages ago.
    So I don't buy cut trees. I keep them in pots or use an artificial one for Christmas

    This picture reminds me of how I felt with my Christmas tree. The leaf branch looks like it wants to stay alive and yet one leaf already fell so it means it is dying.
    Very good. :)

  5. I think it is a great picture, expressing and with beautiful soft colurs (I love blue...)
    Thank you that you ran across my blog - I like yours :-)
    Greetings from Germany!

  6. CONGRATULATIONS Carolina, you won my Watercolour Giveaway...I will be posting it on my site in an hour!
    I'm very happy it went to you...I used Random.org...
    Have a great evening...can you just confirm how many girls you have...thx.

  7. you think to much relax and smoke a cigar babe and sip on some brandy. It will call come to you as you sit and smell the rain rolling in with the Oklahoma winds.... I love you perfectionist

  8. Just last week, at the Moma, I wondered, how does an artist find their niche for their work, one such artist that I was fascinated was know for capturing "domestic scenes" - Each and every artist had a recognizable style and ability to give us a closer look inside. I left wondering how, how did they amass such a vast body of work. I love how you put this into words. As an artist - I feel your pain and your paint.