Do you dream of being an artist?
If you're reading this, I expect the answer to that is yes. I've been reading 'The Artists Way' by Julia Cameron and in it she talks about The Shadow Artist. That resonated with me right away.
The Shadow Artist is the child who loved to paint, or draw, played a musical instrument, wrote poems or loved to dance.
But their well-meaning (or otherwise) parents encouraged them to pursue a 'worthwhile' career and keep their artistic pursuits as a hobby.
Was this you?
It was me.
I really loved painting as a child. I was slow at everything else, not because I couldn't do it, writing or reading etc. It was because I was only excited by drawing and painting.
My teachers really encouraged me at junior school. But when I went to my Secondary School,
(I was shoe-horned in by my well-meaning father who was an eminent scientist). Art was frowned upon. This school specialised in science!
I was not interested in what they wanted to teach me. Except I could draw up the experiments really well and my maps looked pretty cool.
Fast forward 20 years-5 years as a business analyst and 15 as a magazine publisher-I jacked it all in and became an Editorial Photographer. Yep, just like that! I loved gardens and plants so that's what I did.
I was back on the path I wanted to follow!
Then, I started to paint seriously again (I always dabbled, don't we all?)
At first joining a local group and using watercolours. Then I dipped my brushes in oils and the world took off.
I started to go on courses run by artists; The St Ives School of Painting with Liz Hough and
Alice Mumford, The Heatherley School of Fine Art, The Mall Galleries and The RWA. And courses tutored by Louise Balaam and another by Sarah Spencer.
I was serious about learning as much as I could, I had years of catching up to do!
They were all great fun but I discovered that they all taught their method and style of painting. There were no elementary details. You were expected to understand colour mixing and the rest...
Over that time I painted on my kitchen table then moved out to the garage, which was far too cold, so I took over a small box room in the house. Then we moved and I lost my little space. My husband, Joe suggested I look for a studio. I found one in our new home town, Frome and have been there ever since.
I love closing the door and messing around with paint. But my efforts were often hit-and-miss. Some paintings appeared without seemingly much input from me and I was very pleased with them, selling them quickly. Others I laboured over for days.
I came to realise that when i painted from my subconscious, intuitively, from my soul my paintings sang to me like larks. And over time I managed to reach this space more often.
Well I think it boils down to two reasons:
There is a Japanese word Shuhari
shu (守) means traditional wisdom and techniques. To Master.
ha (破) means breaking with tradition, to find new approaches. To Experiment.
ri (離) means transcendence where all moves are natural becoming at one with spirit alone. Paint what you feel.
We don't have a word that explains this in English. But this is what I was doing;
SO WHAT IS THE SHU IN SHUHARI?
There are several key elements to make a strong painting:
AND THE HA?
Practice, practice, practice. I find that people who come on my workshops expect some kind of instant transformation. A concert pianist practices everyday for years. Why should painting be any different? It's not a talent it's really something that you can learn. Some people just have a head start.
If you practice 1/2 an hour a day 3 or 4 times a week will get much better than if you labour for hours once a month.
And get hold of those secrets that all these tutors keep to themselves. How?
I gladly share all the goodies that I've learnt, so that you don't have to go through the expense, frustration and time that I did.
I'm no longer a Shadow Artist.
If you want to come out of the shadows, take a look at my Free video, in it I share some of the secrets...
Lynn is a painter of flowers, landscapes, and emotions.