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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finding Your Own Voice in Your Paintings

'Desert Color' 5x7 plein air pastel ©Karen Margulis sold


Paint what you love. Paint what you know. These are words I heard many times while at the 1st Annual Plein Air convention. I love this advice. While there is a time to stretch yourself and learn new subject matter and techniques, it is also important to reflect and understand what subjects really speak to you. It is true that you will often do your best work when you are painting things that speak to you. You just need to figure out what these things are.

When I am outside looking for something to paint or photograph, I find myself looking down more than I look up at the 'Big View'. I love the big view...I love wide open spaces. But I find I am always drawn to the things on the ground. It is the wildflowers that speak loudly to me. I have discovered that I enjoy painting the more intimate details of the landscape. I don't fight it. I make sure that I make time to paint what I love. At the convention I painted the Big View but I also found some wildflowers that called out to be painted! Read on for some advice from Clyde Aspevig.

watercolor underpainting done with my mini watercolor kit
Do you know what subjects speak loudly to you? Have you found your truth? I would like to leave you with this piece of advice given to us by Clyde Aspevig at the Plein Air Convention. Clyde suggested that we turn off technology every once in awhile and find a way to have a moment of complete isolation. "You have to start thinking and the answers will come".

See Clyde Aspevig's work here. I will be reviewing his lecture in a future post so be sure to sign up on the sidebar to receive email updates so you don't miss a post!

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