Art LESSONS (or rather life lessons thru ART)

Still very inspired by my workshop with Flora Bowley. Apart from the many cool techniques I learned (such as using FINGERS - LOL. My new favourite tool, who knew??) the weekend expanded my confidence in tapping into the intuitive part of my myself that knows exactly what needs to go on that blank canvas. Her method involves much *letting go* of preconceived ideas of what things should look like and what I (or rather my EGO) thinks I want or *should* paint. I have the most difficulty with this as I don't like to let go! It feels scary and I start to worry, like most of us that I will just end up with a mess rather than something *worthwhile*.

However, although that is always going to be a possibility, it hasn't (in my opinion anyway - LOL) happened yet. Thus I am slowly learning to trust the process of letting the painting emerge without judgement and allowing the possibility that the outcome will be better than what I could have achieved through conscious planning and effort.

"PROUD" is my latest painting and my biggest lesson in trust yet. As I started to cover the canvas with color in a random way, I started to *see* peacock feathers. I LOVE peacock feathers - the colors, the fragility, the beauty.......{{{sigh}}}. I started to feel excited about painting these and was already anticipating a finished beautiful painting and deciding to paint in the image of the bird, as well as the feathers.

I painted a peacock. I knew it sucked! LOL I researched peacock pictures and tried again. It was WRONG. I changed the position, the stance and the angle. It still sucked! I felt frustrated and was fast losing interest in my painting. THEN I realized how I was trying to force it to happen instead of just trying to let go and allow the painting to emerge. I knew I needed to let go of my preconceived idea of painting a peacock, but I didn't want to! I had gotten really, really attached to the idea of a peacock painting. LOL

However, ultimately (and if I am honest, in frustrated surrender), I took a breath and my largest paintbrush and slapped random colors and strokes over the images I had just spent the last hours making. It actually felt better than I thought. It was kind of satisfying to obliterate the images and not keep trying to literally *bash my head against a brick wall* to make something work, when clearly it wasn't. However there was a part of me that also felt defeated. What now?

So I stepped back from the work and while looking at the mess in front of me, finally started to listen to my intuition. It was telling me to turn the canvas. It was on the second turn that I *saw* it. MY PEACOCK! The whole shape of his head and beak was just there, like magic! It felt as if he was laughing at me as he manifested in front of my eyes, and could almost hear him saying "of course, I'm here and I'm BIG and PROUD"!! And indeed he *was* so much larger than I had been trying to paint and in a totally different position on the canvas. The *perfect* position, in fact, to allow me to be guided to paint in the riot of feathers that have become his plumage. Once again I needed to let go my idea of what was a feather or not. None of the areas I had first seen as feathers ended up staying.

So I ended up with a peacock painting after all. Nothing like what I imagined when I first started, but so, so much better. I really love it and I love this process!!


  1. Fantastic Jan, you've really got a great style happening here.

  2. This is amazing. I would love to learn these techniques. Do you know of any web classes for this look?

  3. Oh thanks guys! Appreciate you taking time to make comments. Sorry Patti, I don't know of any online classes that teach this way of painting. I not sure if it is something that could be taught online. Would be a challenge! LOL

  4. Beautiful love the story of the process but the painting I love better.

  5. Your peacock is just fabulous! Love the soft colors and it's head is perfect! Well done!

  6. My peacock is also driving me insane!!! I'm finishing him today come hell or highwater. Yours is absolutely stunning!!!!


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