Monday, April 10, 2017

Something I've Learned from Painting

Living for the joy of living.

Something painting has taught me is to turn off my inner critic when I'm painting. Let go of the need to judge what I'm doing. Is it good? Am I good? Should I give it up?

I didn't know how to get in that frame of mind before. But I had to or I would never have continued. I never would have learned how awesome it is to just quit JUDGING! First with painting, and then in all areas of my life. Judging just gets in the way of living joyfully.

Judging is a survival technique. We have to decide right away if we are in danger or safe. It's an instinct that has kept our species alive. So far!

But art is something else. It's going beyond instinct. Being in a creative mode is in itself the reward and the joy. What we produce, well it is what it is! The key is to focus on the joy.

I'm not saying don't practice your skills. All that time at the easel needs to be done without judgement, you don't have to get somewhere. You are there! Every time you pick up the brush! And the more you do it, the more your skills will grow. It's inevitable!

If you are in a state of worry, judgement, criticism, self consciousness, embarrassment - you will never learn the amazing joy of painting!

This lesson has filtered into every part of my life. It has taught me to throw myself whole heartedly into everything I do and turn off the judgement. It's so much more fun to live this way! Thank you painting!

Do I look sillier to others now? Probably. Do I care? NOPE! :)

Whenever I feel that creative urge to do something different, out of the ordinary, whenever that familiar excitement starts to rise, I don't judge it anymore, I just do it! And never let the words "what will people think" or "I'm too old" or "I don't have any talent" into your mind! Pshaw! You have no power here!!

Haha. So. One of the things that I'm doing now because of what I learned painting - I'm playing the drums! :D

I always had an image in my head of getting together with family and friends to make music together. And I've always loved drums. My husband plays the bass, my daughter sings, and our friend Dan plays a mean lead guitar. And they are letting me bang along with them!

I'm having so much fun. And I'm leaving the critic out in the cold. He doesn't want us to enjoy living. I guess he is miserable so he wants everyone else to be!

So I'm sharing this little video of our little band hoping to inspire you to try something without judging yourself. When you paint - leave the critic out in the cold. Feel the amazing feeling of spreading paint on a canvas. Really feel it. Feel the movement of your hands, jump right into what you are painting and notice every part of it. Breath deep, relax, move, enjoy. :)



And let me know! What are you able to do now that you've left the Critic out in the cold?





Saturday, April 8, 2017

Next Door Beauty

I have always been a huge fan of finding beauty in the ordinary.

So my new adventure is about homes in my neighborhood. I especially love the brightly colored ones! And there are so many here in Portland. Taking a risk, expressing themselves. Being bold. I just love it! Why DO we take ourselves so seriously after all!

My art has taken a shift over the last year. More Color! More Cowbell! Lol! Loose and free with lots of thick juicy color. :) Ahhhhh.

Every season seems to bring a different home into the spotlight. What I'm absolutely in love with is the combination of nature - domesticated though it may be - and the creative home.

So here are the first two of this series...

"Spring at Last" 9" x 12" acrylic on deep gallery wrapped canvas


"Fall in the Neighborhood"
9" x 12" acrylic
on deep gallery wrapped canvas





 These two kind of got me started on this idea. I painted them for the Big 500 Art Show last fall.

This one is
"The Ginkgo"
6" x 6"


And this one is

"Welcome Home"
6" x 6"















I'll post more as I finish them...

If you are interested, they are available in my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/karenilari

And I'll be showing them this summer at the outdoor art show we have here in St Johns called the Art Constitutional

The fun part is walking, biking or driving around looking for pictures to capture :) Except that I think when I drive real slow down residential streets, circling around and driving by again, people might think I'm up to no good! Ha!

Let me know if you think this is a good direction for me - or if you have a colorful house you would like me to paint :)



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Revisiting for Inspiration

Be more painterly!

That's been my quest as of late. More expressive. Less locked in to the reference.

My daily quick study paintings have been helping, I think. Though sometimes I feel like I'm making no progress at all!

My house has paintings everywhere. The ones that have been around longest tend to make it back into the bedrooms and hall. Those are the ones that don't sell. And those are the ones I see the most! Hmmm, maybe I should rethink that for the sake of my confidence.

One in particular I've been staring at for years. When I painted it I was happy with it. But now I see so many flaws.

So I pulled it off the wall, cleaned off the dust, and set it on the easel. I didn't even unframe it as it has a floater frame with the whole canvas exposed.

Here is the old girl:


So, like I said, I was happy with it at the time. I could see the distance. It was very close to the reference. I spent quite a while painting it. I liked my barbed wire and my distant trees. This photo actually does it a bit more justice, the color of the field was not as warm as it is showing here.

What was bothering me is that it doesn't express anything about my experience of this beautiful tree and scene. The light was low and warm afternoon sun. Can't see that! I lost the light. Ahhh, my biggest challenge in a painting is capturing the light. It feels stiff to me.

Anyway. Armed with the lessons learned from my big brush quick studies, here is what I came up with:

I feel like the color is more the subject now. More expressive of the rich warmth of the scene. The background, mid ground and foreground feel more integrated. Both in brushwork and color.

I used a larger brush, kept away from detail, pushed the colors.

I'm much happier now! What do you think?






p.s. available in my Etsy shop: