Gardening Life in general Oil Painting Painting Photos Plants Still Life

Humble Hydrangeas; Antidote to Procrastination

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.

Flower Art Glass Painting Sketchbook Pages Still Life Watercolor

Roses in a Bottle

Roses in a Bottle

(Larger) Watercolor on hot press paper, 5×7″

This was intended to be a study for an oil painting the next day, but during the night the kitties knocked over the bottle, and all the water spilled out, pooling on the studio’s hardwood floors overnight. After their rough night, the lovely roses were no longer such perfect specimens. So this is both their opening curtain and their final curtsy. Mine too, for today. Amazingly (for me) I can’t think of another thing to say!

Flower Art Gardening Life in general Oil Painting Outdoors/Landscape Painting Plants Plein Air Still Life

Hydrangeas Plein Air & Creativity Interview

Hydrangeas plein air

Oil on panel, 6×8″ (larger)

It felt so good to get outside and paint this sunny afternoon, even if it was only for an hour on the side of my house by my trash cans where this small hydrangea is finally starting to blossom and grow.

Creativity Interview

I was interviewed by Creativity Coach, Liz Massey and she posted the interview on her blog today. If you’d like to read about my creative process, thoughts on inspiration, overcoming artistic blocks, etc., please stop by her excellent blog. While you’re there, check out some of her other interviews. I was especially intrigued by her post about “clutter-busting with one sentence journaling.”

Painting lessons learned the hard way

This week I’ve been mucking about in the studio trying to fix the compositional problems with my painting of the ladies at the farmer market. Today I gave up on it and moved on.

The struggles I had with it were a good reminder for me about how important it is to resolve compositional issues before starting to paint (like the area where you couldn’t tell hands from plastic bag from shopping cart handle).  Also a good lesson that if a painting’s initial framework isn’t working, it’s better to start over than to spend hours and hours trying to fix it. Although I really liked many parts of that painting, it just wasn’t working as a whole.

Inspiration at 87

My sister and I joined my vibrant and adorable 87 year old aunt and her two sons (our cousins) who I hadn’t seen for 30 years for lunch today. It was so inspiring to see how youthful my aunt is — she drives, goes bowling with her girlfriends, and takes long walks several times a day with her Border Collie.