painting a day -- day 9 and a couple thoughts on art

I missed painting yesterday. Both meaning that I didn't paint and meaning that I was sad to have no painting in my day. But part of the point of this month is to learn to be more loose and free in my creating and to go easy on myself. So, I missed a day. I'll keep going. Life gets in the way sometimes. I'm constantly struggling with the gap between my intentions and reality. And that's ok. That's life.

Today I've been working on acrylics and watercolors while doing things like laundry and running to the post office (with that special custom order!) and other errands. I still have to run over to the grocery store and I hope to work in the yard as long as it doesn't start raining again.

Inspired by Elisa Choi's citrus fruit paintings, I thought I'd paint lemons and limes today. First, an imaginary still life in acrylics.

The bowl is supposed to be more of a light tangerine orange, but I don't have much experience mixing oranges and used WAY too much red. I kept adding more and more yellow, but I didn't want to waste too much paint and eventually stopped. I did use up the extra orange as a background on another canvas. I love painting backgrounds; it's so soothing.

It ended up all orange, but I loved the way it looked at this point. I also added some of my leftover paint to a couple other canvases.

My watercolor lemon painting was also an exercise in working from Billy Showell's book (the one I got a while back). She has step-by-step instructions on how to paint a lemon. Her lemon model and my lemon model look nothing alike (mine is much smoother and has no leaf), but I started out trying her technique.

From the beginning, my paint wasn't working the way it was supposed to. First my paper was too dry and then it was too wet. But that's what practice and experimentation is for. Probably the biggest difference in the way that she paints and the way that I paint is that she puts in the shadows underneath the main color. I've read that technique elsewhere, too, but have never tried it before today. Eventually I just abandoned following her directions (I never even bothered to look up the names of the paints in my palette so I could mix the "right" ones).

I'll probably add another layer or two, but here it is now.

Before I rush off, I wanted to share a couple thoughts with you. First, I've been thinking about what it means to be an artist and I remembered journaling about that idea back when I first started thinking about trying out some art. I found the page in my sketchbook (from over 2 years ago) where I wrote down my thoughts:

It reads: "What differentiates an artist from a non-artist? I don't think it's talent as much as it is action. An artist creates. A non-artist does not. We all can draw to one degree or another. Only some actually do draw." And really, how else do you define an artist. An artist makes art. Simple as that. You know that I struggle with that concept, with calling myself an artist, but I'm getting better. I mean, I am making a whole lot of art around here lately.

Then today I read this on the the Etsy blog. So, how do you define success as an artist? The idea in that article about art being simply a leisure activity seemed like such a strange thought to me. That art is just for children and "retired people"... there's something very wrong with that concept.

Finally, I read this post on Joan's blog, which just so happened to answer the question of defining success. A feeling of success only showed up for her when she was able to help others with the proceeds of her endeavors (she's having an auction on her blog right now to help with stray cat rehabilitation if you wanted to drop in).

I hope you are all having a wonderful week.


  1. Anne, thanks so much for your kind words and for linking to my cause/auction. My art makes SO much more sense to me now that it can serve a worthwhile purpose - only now I feel I have much less time to be in my creative den, lol!
    Your lemon is so vibrant and the light is just... mmm... you've just caught it so well. Love it.
    P.s. I feel like congratulating you on your Moo cards - isn't that just the most fantastic and positive experience receiving those?!! Yours look gorgeous and so personal.

  2. I must say your post is inspiring. I love how watercolor falls organically on a page and how acrylic is much more deliberate. When I am at those times that I feel crappy or tired watercolor is great! When I feel like I want to try harder I grab the acrylics. But yours Anne, acrylic and not always look amazing and something worthy to display. I worked in my yard today, but there is loads still to do. I did manage to plant some strawberrys in some window boxes that last years crop I lost to disease. I am really hoping they make it this time. Thanks for sharing. I love it!

  3. Hi Anne. I am glad you are being easy with yourself. There is always another day right? I love the cropped lemon and lime painting. The composition is pleasing to me. And I think your watercolor lemon is so pretty! And yes, totally agree, ACTION is where it is at. You can dream about doing it, wish you were doing it but if you don't DO IT then you aren't an artist. I believe success comes first internally... you with your paints and that experience, the joy it brings you, then it comes from sharing that and bringing another beauty and joy and a piece of you! It is wonderful! We all need more beauty in this world. xo

  4. Anne, I love your determination. I love how you are very flexible with painting and move on from one to another without dwelling too much on it. You do what do you best... the lemon painting has a nice touch of tone in it. I love the imaginary still life you painted--great perspective:)And I love love love your definition of artist. That's the same way I thought of being an Artist. Because like what picasso says... "we are all artist but the problem is staying as an artist when we grow up". And that my friend means we have to keep creating! :)


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