Paint What You Love (And Ignore The NaySayers!)

Paint what you’re keen on. We frequently hear that encouragement, don’t we? It appears apparent and fairly clear but I do know a few of my college students have a very exhausting time following via on this concept even once they do know what it’s they love to color!

Let me let you know a narrative.

Just a few days in the past, a buddy of mine requested me if I had any extra greeting playing cards with the picture of one in every of my work within the Vesuvius Seashore Girls’ Membership assortment (also known as The Vesuvius Girls). Oh my, I assumed, they’re nonetheless in demand!  

On a summer season day a few years in the past, I used to be portray at Vesuvius Seashore on Salt Spring Island. Chatting away close by have been 4 ladies of a sure age. I smiled as I listened to them gossiping a few buddy who’d just lately taken up with a brand new man who they didn’t approve of. Moreover realising that some issues by no means change it doesn’t matter what age we’re, I stored considering, There’s a portray there!

So I snapped some pictures of the group as they sat chatting. Quickly after, as they headed to the ocean for a swim, I captured a couple of extra pictures. I continued portray. Earlier than I packed as much as go, the 4 ladies returned and I grabbed my digicam as soon as once more. (And sure, this was the time of digicam and movie!). 

After I had the images developed, I couldn’t wait to color them! I made a decision to color them although I used to be positive nobody would need to purchase work of a bunch of outdated ladies. 

Paint what you love: Gail Sibley, "Vesuvius Beach Ladies Club #2, pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Sold.
Gail Sibley, “Vesuvius Seashore Girls Membership #2,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Offered.

Boy was I fallacious. 

I painted these getting old ladies as a result of I liked the imperfection of their our bodies and the attractive shapes they made. I liked their numerous swim costumes and the sensation of various characters that emerged. I did these work for me!

So yeah, it was a whole shock when not solely did all three work promote, however the prints I fabricated from them have been a few of my largest sellers. (For years, I used to promote within the Saturday Market on Salt Spring Island.) I realised, the eagerness I had dropped at portray these ladies, got here via loud and clear. And, certainly, I can see know that there’s a universality to the topic that made it interesting to so many, even to at the present time! I simply didn’t see that on the time. All I knew is that I used to be drawn to color these ladies, lovely of their maturity.

Paint what you love: Gail Sibley, "Vesuvius Beach Ladies Club #3, pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Sold.
Gail Sibley, “Vesuvius Seashore Girls Membership #3,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Offered.

For me, this expertise isn’t any higher proof that, as an artist, one of the best factor to do is to color what you’re keen on!

We will be so influenced by outdoors influences and expectations that we will find yourself portray topics that will not actually resonate with us. We might imagine that landscapes are interesting to many individuals and so we should always paint them. Or, as in my case, we love being in the panorama subsequently I ought to love portray them. Ahhhhh, no. 

I raised and liked a parrot household. Does that imply I ought to love to color them? That may be one other no. (Certain I painted a couple of pastels of them however actually, my coronary heart was with the creatures not the portray of them.)

Gail Sibley, "Aloysuius," pastel, 8 x 6 in. Sold
Gail Sibley, “Aloysuius,” pastel, 8 x 6 in. Offered

Generally we’re actually drawn to color a topic however we don’t give up to that want as a result of we doubt our skill. We expect, “That’s simply too exhausting for me to color.” And so we don’t paint the very factor we’re pulled to color!

In these circumstances I say, let go of your individual expectation of an amazing end result when portray this new-to-you topic. Paint it and permit for the choice of an terrible end result (maybe solely based on your judgment). Then paint it once more. And once more.

Paint what you’re keen on! In case you do, you’ll be happier for the doing of it. Even for those who assume nobody will prefer it, even for those who assume it gained’t promote, even for those who assume others will probably be shocked by it, even for those who assume you gained’t be capable of do it justice, I say, paint what you’re keen on. And don’t fear about all these What-ifs! Study from my very own expertise. 

Discover what topics make your coronary heart beat a bit quicker – these are the topics that talk to you as an artist. They could not converse to different artists however they converse to you. Listen. Hear. Then don’t fear about what others will assume. Don’t fear in regards to the finish end result. Paint with ardour in your topic and that can come via. Paint what you’re keen on! And in doing so, you’ll share your emotional response whether or not joyous or unhappy, indignant or hopeful, amused or proud.

As all the time, I’d love to listen to your ideas about this matter! Have you learnt know what you’re keen on to color? And do you paint it??

Till subsequent time,


PS. I realized over time that I really like portray figures. I’m additionally drawn to the way in which mild illuminates a topic or how colors could shock me. This may occur in landscapes, nonetheless life, portraits, animals, and concrete scenes in addition to with figures. I paint what pulls me, no matter it’s!