Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Go With Our Strengths

The painting above was created in a figure workshop a long time ago. The model had a rather long nose and wore a hat. He did not inspire me enough to work at a likeness.

Go with our Strengths or work like the devil on Weaknesses?

My current feeling is that most of art making requires three skills: design, color, and drawing. Before any of this happens of course, inspiration, insight, creative thought, all play their part. It is the making skills that intrigue today. My proposal is that for most of us one or two of these skills are effortless, almost innate. The others require study and much practice.

For me, the weak link is drawing skills. If I draw some object or scene, it will be recognized as tree or bird or whatever, but it will not look exactly like that tree or bird. Part of this is motivation. If my idea requires exact replication then I will be willing to work to get as close as I can. But, should I be drawing every day so that my skill level makes this effortless.

The decision I make most days is to go with my strengths. I will spend hours in the studio happily creating shapes and colors that recall places and objects that move or intrigue me. Some of this excitement and fun will be caught by viewers and then I will have accomplished my real goal.

Memories of flowers, fences and gazebos are captured in this watercolor. They are REAL for me. Any thoughts or comments will be appreciated. Thanks. Next week another episode of "How did you do that?"


  1. What a beautiful painting! The colors are so yummy and it makes me feel good just looking at it. :) Reality is relative, you know. Just go with that!

  2. Very insightful post, Marge! I tend to work on my weaknesses more, fighting my brain's desire for symmetry, so I make myself practice on objects of randomness, i.e., trees. I'm especially bad at trees. So I work all that much harder to overcome it.

  3. I love your forms, and I especially love your color. I wrote a long comment earlier but lost it before posting! Upshot of it was, I think you have to work on both; keep exploring those elements you are really good at, but don't allow your weaknesses to remain weaknesses!

    Is the way you draw a weakness? Perhaps only you can answer that. If there's something about your own work that you're not happy with, work on improvement; if it doesn't bother you, it may actually be a strength. :)