Humble Hydrangeas

Humble Hydrangeas

These humble but persistent hydrangeas were still blooming outside my kitchen window, despite suffering through drought then rain and cold.  Their leaves were few, gray and blotchy and the stems were bent and woody but the flowers just weren’t giving up.

While I worked on the painting I was thinking about humility. I’ve discovered that being humble is a good antidote to procrastination.

When I think that I have to be “good” at something (especially painting), it creates fear that I won’t be. Then I find myself either procrastinating or, if it strikes while I’m painting, reworking a painting again and again because it’s not “perfect” yet.

I’ve found that the best way to step out of that rut of perfectionism is to focus on being honestly humble and not worry about being good, better, best, or perfect. All I have to be is humble little me and like the hydrangeas, just hang in there and shine forth.

About the painting:

I was trying to see and paint light and make good use of color temperature and value contrasts to model the form. I started by doing a monochrome underpainting in acrylic, but didn’t really like the way the acrylic paint kind of ruined the wonderful texture of the ArtBord.  Here are the steps along the way:

1 & 2 are photos of the still life set up, the second in black and white to look at values.

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Category:
Gardening, Life in general, Oil Painting, Painting, Photos, Plants, Still Life
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Join the conversation! 12 Comments

  1. I love your thoughts Jana. I can relate so well. Everyone is giving me food for thought for this coming year. The hydrangeas are perfect my dear simply perfect. thanks for sharing.

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    • Thanks Toni, I too am finding much inspiration from all the different art
      bloggers’ perspectives on New Years. I love that we’re all able to connect
      from our solitary studios and share with each other!
      Jana

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  2. Yes, I agree with you and Toni – so many wonderful and thought provoking posts to read recently! I love this, the colours are so luminous and that lovely touch of yellow/green, wonderful!

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  3. Wow Jana, stunning process and results. And I couldn’t agree with the sentiment more. I think this is why, as much as I want to, I don’t enjoy commissioned work nearly as much as I enjoy doodling in my sketchbook. I don’t want to have to be perfect. I want to be quirky Suzanne….but as soon as money comes into play the quirkiness wants to disappear.

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    • Suzanne, What’s funny about your message is that I was actually thinking
      about you when I was writing about being humble. It’s impressed me many
      times when visiting your blog that even with all your talent, skill and
      experience, you offer your writing and artwork in such a gentle and humble
      manner. I agree that it’s much more fun to just be our quirky selves than to
      have to be Professional with a capital P. So much of the joy of making
      pictures is recapturing the fun of a new box of 65 crayons and a stack of
      paper. Thanks! Jana

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  4. A beautiful painting Jana…you’ve captured the light beautifully! I love that glistening reflection on your vase/jug!
    ronell

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  5. Hi!! I’m still browsing through your blog, there’s so much great stuff here, I almost don’t want to get to the end, thankfully it looks like there’s enough to keep me busy for awhile:) Wanted to thank you again for getting back to me, I’m getting ready to practice in my watercolor moleskine (if I can get off of here) I’m hoping by practicing from my favorite sketches online, I’ll be ready to go out and do my own!! (I’m so looking forward to it, I just need to get me a waterbrush, and maybe a little watercolor set) Ok, enough of my rambling, I’d better stop or I will end up writing you a book:) hope you have a great Saturday evening
    Trish

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  6. Beautiful. Humble Hydrangeas could boast of their own beauty! I love your use of light. Your insights about the artist’s desire to create perfection were so true. I’ll remember your wise words as I begin a new painting this week. Thank you! Sandra

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  7. Jana-could you tell me if those cheap kids watercolors are okay to practice with in my sketchbook? seems so much easier to carry around- thanks 🙂
    Trish

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    • Hi Trish,
      What brand of kids’ paint are you using? Some are better than others. If you’re not worried about practicing your watercolor technique and just want to add a little color to an ink sketch, using a kids palette should be fine. However, my philosophy with art supplies is to always use the best that you can afford because working with low quality materials can be an exercise in frustration. When you paint with high quality paints, they behave much differently than student or kid grade materials so you’re not really learning what you will ultimately want to know.

      If your main concern is portability, there are very inexpensive folding plastic palettes to which you could add your own tube paints (letting them dry before carying them with you) or you could refill the kids set with your own tube paints. This one (Item 676 010 002)) on the Daniel Smith website only $3.00 and I know several painters who like it very much. I hope that helps. Jana

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  8. I think you did exactly what you set out to do. That’s success, isn’t it?

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  9. Another great post, thanks Jana – I was admiring this beautiful painting and it was such a bonus to find photographs of your process. Inspiring. As everyone else has said already, your writing is very thoughtful and stimulating. I don’t get here often enough!

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