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Monday, 10 February 2014

What makes you an artist?



I've heard this debated a few times and I usually end up feeling a bit of a phony when this is discussed - as I have called myself an artist (albeit an amateur one) because I do art!  I love art!  It is part of who I am, but am I a true artist - I'll let you decide!

I've always enjoyed art - used to draw anything and everything when I was a teenager, then life took over and I stopped drawing, then 3 years ago I started again, and started painting - I love seeing something come to life in front of me and even if I'm not that happy with the result, I will have always enjoyed the process.  I doubt if some people would regard me as a 'true artist' though as I'm a bit too laid back about it all - and I don't follow the rules, I don't even know all of the rules!  I don't plan, I haven't got time for that, I've got a day job and limited time to paint so an idea pops into my head and I think 'I'll paint that tonight!' and I just dive in! It's usually because a I've seen something that inspires me whether it be from an experience I've had or a photograph or it may be a challenge on a art site or on facebook.   Yes I feel passionate about art, I love it, and couldn't not paint now - but I heard it said once that 'some people can never be a true artist because they're not tormented enough' !  and I think I know what they mean.  I don't have that huge drive that some do to evolve and improve - I see artists saying how you must strive endlessly to improve, and evolve and find who you are as an artist - and I admire the drive of these artists, it's brilliant - but we haven't all got that same drive - so are we not true artists then?

I haven't got that drive -  it's not in my personality to be like that, and is not who I am.  I fear if I got into that mindset that I would lose some of those natural emotions in creating for the love of it - I think I would subconsciously find it a pressure to be worrying that I need to keep improving, and striving to advance myself etc.  and this would show in my artwork which could result in looking more contrived rather than ( I hope !) more natural.

I'm not saying I'm not interested in improving - of course I am, and I think I have over the last 3 years - naturally because I paint so much, I'm learning through trial and error what I can achieve.   I'm much more confident painting certain subjects and I do plan on challenging myself to paint some subjects I'm much less confident with - and I do read art books and  watch demos on youtube and play around with paint but I'm not obsessed with improving - I'll let it happen naturally in my own time and won't try to rush it or take it too seriously. I've got all the time in the world, I want to enjoy it!   I've been criticised in the past for being this way and not pushing myself enough  which is a shame as I don't criticise other artists for doing things their way.  Instead I admire their drive. 

Maybe I lack that essential spark, that fire that is apparently the essence of the true artistic personality.  So no I'm not a 'true artist'  and never will be I suppose.  One thing I do know though is that every painting I do is from the heart, whether it is a beautiful bird I've seen in the garden or my old walking boots!  



Dipper
© Sharon Whitley


So last night's creation was inspired by a visit to a local waterfall yesterday where we saw one of my favourite birds - the Dipper - I know I'm always saying 'one of my favourite birds' but I do have a lot of favourites - you can't help but love the Dipper, bobbing up and down by the water. This one was sat in the spray from the waterfall and sat posing for a good few minutes posing while Gary took a few shots, so of course I had to paint him - I was thinking of the colours I was going to use while admiring him through the binoculars.  Burnt Umber with an Indigo based dark mix for his lovely tail feathers!






12 comments:

  1. Beautiful Sharon. I would like to post a link to this blog on my LinkedIn site under the group called "True Artist Living the Art" and would like your permission to do so. I'm not sure I know how to do that exactly and it will be trial and error on my part but I would gladly let you know when I am able to do so. Please say "yes."

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    1. yes of course Carol - would be happy for you to share :-)

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    2. Sharon, you ARE AN ARTIST. We all hear that "you must constantly change, constantly grow, yada, yada . . . " from other people. I say - we all come to art for different reasons and we are all in different places on our art journey. Doesn't make any of us "bad" or "good" artists - we are what we are, and thank goodness we aren't all the same! Do it for the fun of it and the enjoyment - which you are doing. So - you are in the right place for YOU - and that's all that matters. Don't worry about going to workshops - you are doing fine on your own! Observe, read, and if anything strikes you then give it a try. If you decide to go to workshops at some point that's fine, but DON'T worry about what "others" say - just do what YOU want to do and are comfortable with. Sounds to me like you are doing everything PERFECTLY FOR YOU!
      (Now pardon me while I jump off my soap box and put it away!)

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    3. Sharon it posted to LinkedIn just fine. Are you a LinkedIn member? Thanks!

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    4. Haha thanks Deb - I will carry on doing things my way - it's working for me so far I think!

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    5. Carol I know nothing about LinkedIn!

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  2. I know exactly what you mean as I feel exactly the same so although I do go to workshops as I actually love them and really enjoy seeing the expertise of another artist.. I am not a tortured soul, my work has little or no meaning and I paint entirely for the love of it but you know what...... I am sure there is a place for the likes of us in the art world and we are also allowed to call ourselves artists. I don't think we have to conform to any sort of stereotype to be called an artist.. we just have to create art and as far as I can see that is what you do and beautifully too!!

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    1. haha Judith I'm glad I'm making a bit of sense - I wondered whether I was - I tend to ramble and things come out the wrong way and I get misunderstood! I certainly know you're no tortured soul, far from it! I can't say whether workshops are for me as I've never been on one so I should go as I may absolutely love it!

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  3. ...gger I just wrote a good reply on my iPad but it did not go through so here goes again. Sharon you paint with a lot of proficiency but even more than that you paint from the heart so YES you read artist to me in every sense. Whether you have a plan for improvement or it just happens which it does when you are as prolific as you are this surely doesn't matter. The end result is doing what you love, when you want and how you want.

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    1. bless you Lorraine, I know how that feels to write a big post and then lose it - very annoying and I appreciate you taking the time to write it again - lovely words too so pleased you tried again xxx

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  4. Are you an artist? Yes. Your love of painting shines through. Your improvement is just happening as you go along. What I like about you is the enthusiasm you have too. Just do what you are doing. I do go to workshops and courses because I love to learn things, however small, but sometimes it is nice to paint with like minded people instead of on my own. But that's just me. An artist is an artist (to me) just if they create anything at all. Keep showing us your 'favourite' birds etc and enjoy being an artist

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  5. Of course you are! No question! Of course lopping off an ear helps with credibility. :-)

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I love hearing from you, thank you so much for leaving a comment - I will always try to leave a reply and pop over to visit your blog if you have one - although sometimes I may be slower than others, have a wonderful day xx