I’ve always appreciated art but never thought I could make my own. Art-making required talent, skills, technique — none of which I possessed — so many years ago I gave myself a gift: permission. Permission to try. Permission to fail. In art, and in life.
Permission, it turns out, is that rare gift that truly keeps on giving. Permission liberates. It assures. It opens doors to new worlds and ways of being. It quiets fear and self-doubt. It assuages guilt.
Permission made my life interesting and full of possibilities. It still does. Giving myself permission to create was a game-changer. It has helped me make all kinds of things over the years: new career paths, relationships, homes, gardens, peace (with myself and others), and yes, even art.
In this space, I hope to inspire and motivate you to make something, anything, by sharing what I’m making. I’ll post paintings, sketches, drawings, photographs, mosaics, maybe even a poem or haiku — in order to illustrate that we can all make art. No talent, skills, or technique required!
I’d like to kick things off with an untitled watercolor-and-pen piece. I don’t generally bother naming pieces because I’m making art for fun, and unless a title immediately springs to mind why waste the time and energy? If I had to name this one, I guess “Crazy Cat Lady” might work, but that’s kind of snarky and judgmental, and I try not to be that way. I’d rather leave things open to interpretation. This picture is a portrait, and the woman and cat depicted live only in my imagination. I used fairly rough-textured watercolor paper that measures about 14 inches by 11 inches.
I painted this piece last year and dug it out of the drawer to share because I like it and had a lot of fun making it. Those last 11 words are important because they generally sum up why I make art: I like it, and it’s fun. If other people like it, that’s nice, but it’s a mistake to rely too heavily on outside opinions — unless, of course, you’re being paid to produce something or have a strong need for external validation. Lucky for me, the art world I inhabit has neither. The only person I need to please is me.
This piece began with the eyes. I messed around with them for quite a while, lightly sketching them with a pencil before adding any color. I wanted the eyes to be small, but otherwise I had no real direction in mind. I just kept at it until I had something I liked. When I use a pen along with watercolor paint, I sometimes use it before applying paint but more often, after. That was the case in this piece. With the black pen, I was able to add definition to the woman’s hair and create those quirky ear tufts.
So now you know my process: Have fun and keep at it until you’ve got something you like. Give yourself permission, and who knows what you’ll create.