By Sharon Brown (Sharon) on March 16, 2010

You have your canvas stretched, your paints lined up all in a row, your brushes cleaned, and you are fresh out of ideas. So what do you paint? Look around you.

It's easy to be in a creative mood. It isn't nearly as easy to decide what to create. I've found it helps to simply look around. I'm a painter, so color is important to me. Time is also important and I have found that acrylic paint gives me as much color as I need pretty quickly. It has come to be my favorite medium.2010-03-16/Sharran/4a2167

So with canvas or a good grade paper, my favorite brushes, a cup of water, a few paper towels, and my tubes of acrylic paint, I'm ready to create. One of my favorite old plants is a Sansevieria, and it truly is as old as the hills. But I like the color and the shapes it forms. Those shapes remind me of dancing, swaying in the wind to the rhythm that only it hears. 

I'd like to create that same feeling on canvas. 2010-03-16/Sharran/26e161

Artists don't always conform to reality, sometimes we must paint what we feel, what our minds see. Combining our feelings with reality becomes a challenge. I don't really want to paint a dancing plant, but I want to paint the feeling I get when I see a plant that looks to be moving with rhythm. See the difference? Reality with feeling. 

So I combine the two, reality along with imagination, and I end up with a slightly abstracted version of my old Sansevieria, dancing in the wind to a rhythm I can't hear, but I can see and feel. 

I don't want to mimic the colors in its dancing fronds. I only want the feel of the color. I don't want to mimic reality's exact shape, I only want the feeling the shapes create. And I could never even pretend to duplicate nature's creations anyway. The challenge, I think, lies in the ability to capture a feeling, and the talent comes into play when others view our work and feel what we felt when we looked at the old Sansevieria sitting in the corner of our kitchen. 

Isn't that what art's all about?

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Related articles:
abstract, abstracts, acrylic paint, art tutorial, artists, inspiration, painting, painting subjects, paintings, realism

About Sharon Brown
Sharon is a retired art and humanities teacher. She is also a writer and has a deep love for gardening. She has written a series of articles about the history and medicinal value of Kentucky wildflowers, and they tell of growing up in the mountains of southeast Kentucky with her Aunt Bett. She currently lives in western KY.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Excellent advice ... sheryl Mar 20, 2010 3:36 PM 3

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