Paint What You Love (And Ignore The NaySayers!)

Paint what you’re keen on. We regularly 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 onerous time following by way of on this concept even once they do know what it’s they love to color!

Let me inform you a narrative.

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

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

So I snapped some photographs 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 girls returned and I grabbed my digital camera as soon as once more. (And sure, this was the time of digital camera and movie!). 

Once I had the pictures 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 I made a decision to color them although I used to be positive nobody would need to purchase work of a bunch of outdated girls. 

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

Boy was I incorrect. 

I painted these getting older girls as a result of I liked the imperfection of their our bodies and the gorgeous 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 fervour I had delivered to portray these girls, got here by way of 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 today! I simply didn’t see that on the time. All I knew is that I used to be drawn to color these girls, 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 Seaside Girls Membership #3,” pastel on Wallis paper, 12 x 18 in. Bought.

For me, this expertise is not any higher proof that, as an artist, the most effective factor to do is to color what you’re keen on!

We could be so influenced by exterior influences and expectations that we are able to find yourself portray topics that won’t 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. Bought

Typically we’re actually drawn to color a topic however we don’t give up to that want as a result of we doubt our capacity. We expect, “That’s simply too onerous 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 a fantastic final result when portray this new-to-you topic. Paint it and permit for the choice of an terrible outcome (maybe solely in keeping with your judgment). Then paint it once more. And once more.

Paint what you’re keen on! If you happen to do, you’ll be happier for the doing of it. Even should you assume nobody will prefer it, even should you assume it received’t promote, even should you assume others might be shocked by it, even should you assume you received’t be capable to do it justice, I say, paint what you’re keen on. And don’t fear about all these What-ifs! Be taught from my very own expertise. 

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

As at all times, 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 through the years that I like portray figures. I’m additionally drawn to the way in which gentle illuminates a topic or how colors might 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!