I started to paint in 2006 after my husband passed away and I moved to a place to live which is now My Studio. I decided to verify and see if my desire to paint is accompanied by enough skill and creativity to be worth continuing. Not having painting experience, just some ceramics experience, made me question my ability to be successful. I decided to start with flowers, a theme I knew well and painting realistically. The flowers encouraged me to try landscape. It was harder but a realistic approach did not satisfy me, I did not want to compete with photo images of today. I asked myself a lot of questions. What I want to express? how I want to express it? Do I want to copy nature or I want to express myself, my way? But how you do that? How you reach that stage when you unleash your creativity, imagination and it is flowing freely on your canvas? Is there a way to learn this process?
Reading books, browsing art albums, taking notes, drawing, visiting art galleries, going to free demos at Daniel Smith’s Art Supply store made the foundation and support of my start. Soon I understood that I am not alone, I belong to an artist community and we all struggle in our own way to express the best of ourselves. I found support from local art organization like Mercer Island Visual Art League and later Eastside Fine Arts Association.
Because I wanted “My way” and my time is short, I decided to avoid classes and concentrate on developing my own skills by trial and error, a longer pass, but very genuine. I tried to do to some improvisation, as a test to see if I can sustain a spontaneous composition. I was surprised to see my imagination at work, trying each time to solve the problems differently. After a while I understood that in order to grow and improve my technical skills I need to go back to some basic, solid, drawing. I enrolled in a Figure Drawing class at the Community Center. It was a new experience for me, in my college years I made some drawing after plaster copies of classical, well known sculpture ( head of David, Laocoon etc) but never made drawing after a human figure. It was a valuable idea which improved my drawing skills.
My improvisation experience in acrylics was amazing, but made me feel not yet ready for the next step. I decided to spend more time in a dialog with nature, to observe it and to absorb how many lessons I can about it’s logic, structure, texture, shapes, color, composition, etc. Hiking on trails in Issaquah, a trip to Mount Bachelor or to Mount Baker with my Italian good friend Teresa, gave me multiple small pleasures and enough material to continue my paintings. I avoided landscape representation and concentrated on stumps, rocks, bark, trying to mobilize my imagination to see the essence of things. A special event was a trip in Puget Sound (John Island) to which I will dedicate another post.
Now, after five years of painting I am still considering myself a beginner with a lot to learn ahead. In one of the books, I read that only after 500 paintings you can consider yourself established as a painter. I am close to half of it, it means I need another 5 years. I am ready to go, enjoy the journey, search for myself and my way.