Friday, January 14, 2011


You may or may not paint.  If you paint, then what I am about to talk about will make perfect sense.  If you don't paint, then it will help you understand the process a bit better maybe.

Creation.  I am talking about the process of creating a painting.  I do the designs for the TBY studio every month, and I can tell you it is not always an easy process.  Sometimes when the time comes to paint, my mind is a creative void.  Even trying to decide what to write about for my first "real" post in this blog has been a struggle.  I finally decided that just jumping in with both feet would be best, and that I should start at the beginning.  The start of my creative process.

Sometimes I see things, or photos, and a painting jumps to mind.  Then sometimes it is a color or group of colors I am thinking about.  I often discuss ideas with my sister and partner Vix.  She gets me jump started many times.  This month we were talking about painting in monochromatic colors, or keeping a palette that is muted.  This would be an alternative to the bright colors I usually paint in (I am a lover of color, the brighter, the better).  I sat down with my sketchbook, thought about what we talked about, and this is what I came up with:

pears and grapes
I started with some browns and golds, then added some greens toned down with brown.  I could tell you exactly what shades I used, but you get the idea.  Muted.  And I liked the colors when I finished.  Then it was time to paint my next idea.  I was in a groove now and thought well, how about a jungle cat?  There are rich tones of brown in the cats, and I was thinking cheetah specifically because of the distinct facial markings.  So I put up a blank canvasboard, sat for a few minutes to clear my head, and began to paint.  I ended up with this:

But something was just not quite right with it.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but I wasn't totally satisfied (I rarely am with my paintings, a trait that many artists share).  So I talked about it in a Facebook group, where I had posted the step by step photos for Vix, because she teaches most of the classes.  One photo in particular was commented on by my sister Dooj.  She liked the look of this:

And I did too.  So I thought about that all night.  When I am in a painting, I often wake up at night with ideas about adjustments to make, sometimes big changes and sometimes just a tweak.  I got up early this morning and knew what I needed to do to the painting to satisfy myself.  This is how it ended up:
More subtle, like a big cat would be.  I knew as soon as I finished that last blade of grass that it was finished.  I wanted the eyes to be the focus, and now I feel they are.

I want to say that it isn't easy for me to discuss how I create, and what I paint.  I have never tried to market my painting.  I have given away some paintings over the years, but to open up and put my work out there for people to see and critique is like standing naked in a room full of people.  Vulnerable.  Not an easy emotion to deal with.  But I am older now, less vulnerable to what people say, and I still paint as I always have, to please myself.  If others gain pleasure from what I do, that is an added bonus for me. 

That is what everyone should strive to do.  Paint for yourself.  For your own pleasure.  Let what you paint come from the place inside that leads from your heart to your fingertips, in whatever media you use. 

That is the essence of creation.  Do it for YOU, a part of you.  And share it with joy. 


  1. Cath - I know exactly what you mean about dreaming about projects! I often dream of entire paintings/drawings that I have to do. I love your cat!

  2. thank you so much for the comment Carol...hope you will visit this blog often as I have lots of ideas swirling in my mind :D


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