Watercolor lessons – Painting with emotion

My style of painting is all about feeling – emotion. It’s about capturing that magical moment in time when the truth and sheer beauty of nature makes you catch your breath. You know the one – I think as artists, we have all experienced it. You wander around a garden, your eye is attracted to a flicker of light and you see – for a moment – an enchanting radiance as the light dances across the surface of a petal or glows luminously through a leaf. And you know that you have to capture that joy in your work.

Have you ever gazed at a dewdrop as it emits shards of shimmering refracted light? As it is poised precariously on a petal, the slightest breeze will lift the curtain on the play – and in your mind your can picture the ensuing events. Capturing this moment will bring movement and energy, expectation and life to your painting. I like to get up close – a bees-eye view – and take the viewers of my work right into the character of my subject – I want them to ‘know’ my subject.

I try to take this feeling – this unfolding story, and with it, bring the viewer of my painting into that world – my world – the world inside the frame. To do this, I suggest you analyse what it is about your subject that has you spellbound. Ask yourself – is it the shimmering light, is it the refracted shards, maybe it is the angle the dew drop is on – indicating the breeze has made the stem sway gently causing the dewdrop to lilt. It’s all these things – and the best way to emphasise this is to get up close and personal.

It is an instinctive thing for me and I decided that if I wanted to grow as an artist, I had to learn to analyze what I do and why.

We never stop learning and that’s what is so rewarding about painting. It’s a journey that is forever leading us down new paths, revealing new directions. We must never be afraid to take these paths and experiment. Keep an open mind – try new things. Decide what it is that is the very essence of ‘us’. Now that is what we need to paint. Paint what moves you, and you will feel complete and it will show in your work.

Believe in yourself and paint from your soul. Paint the subjects that you are passionate about. With this combination you will find that not only are you sharing a part of yourself with others, you are stirring emotion in the viewers of your work. It is this that people remember, not how cleverly you have painted something, not how precisely you use your brush. No – it’s the way your vision has reached out of the painting and engaged their emotions, allowed them to become absorbed and bewitched by that moment you have suspended in time.

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