Monday, September 13, 2010

Motivational Monday and latest WIP

watercolor work in progress 5 x 7

     Why a mountain lion? Because they're beautiful. That's one reason :) I was very drawn to this image. I love the sunlight hitting her shoulders and back, how it turns her fur a golden-red color. I love how she's completely focused on whatever it is she's looking at.

     This happens to be a captive mountain lion, and I was honestly surprised by the affection she showed her human handler. It was pretty cool. Here we have an example of another sometimes-cuddle-beast.

     And I've just always really loved mountain lions, they remind me of a cat I had when I was a kid, who was definitely a cuddle beast. 

     Now on to Motivational Monday :) I have three things to say about that today. 

     I've been painting a lot lately, making sure that I've got plenty of paintings lined up and ready for me to start. Because I've found that a lot of the time I'll get stuck when I finish a painting and then have nothing else to work on right away.

     So right now I'm sometimes working on two or three paintings at a time, switching back and forth. This is something I haven't done a whole lot of in the past, because it would just throw me off my groove. But now that I have less and less time to devote to painting, I'm finding that I'm making the most out of whatever time I do have.

     So that's tip number one, make sure you have something ready to work on when you've finished your current piece.  Keep that momentum going.

     Something else that I'm going to start doing this week is to take three of my favorite living artists and study their work. What are they doing that I could incorporate into my style of working? Composition, value, color, mood, things like that. I think it's important to keep learning, studying and practicing, and I haven't spent very much time doing that lately. So this week I'm going to try and pick that back up.

     The artists I've chosen are Ali Cavanaugh, Steve Hanks, and Susan Harrison-Tustain. Three master watercolorists with an emphasis on portraiture and figure work. The point of this study is not to copy their work, but to learn from it, to pick their paintings apart and figure out what makes them successful and then take those principles and apply it to my work.

     Tip number two is, find an artist that inspires you and try to figure out why they do and what you can learn from them. 

     And finally, this weekend I realized something. Other people don't think about you and your work the same way you do. Shocking revelation right? Yes, well, what I mean is that if you're feeling discouraged about your work just remember that it's probably not as bad as you think it is. Actually, I'm positive that it's not. Someone out there most likely loves what you do and really admires your talent and hard work. 

     Yes, they really do. I'm serious. Not even kidding. So feel good about what you do, whatever stage you're at in your art career.  No one else can paint like you :)

      Tip number three is, you are an awesome artist. Now don't let that go to your head, but feel good about your talent and effort. It's okay. You can. I just told you that you could :)

     So, what's motivating you lately?



  1. "make sure you have something ready to work on when you've finished your current piece".
    I think thats a great tip..

  2. Terrific post Crystal! I always have 50 ideas mulling around while I'm working on a painting. Sometimes I forge to write it down or put the image in a folder on my desktop marked possible painting. I heard a great tip on Artists helping Artists show, put the painting you are working on in front of you, at a distance and then flip through an art magazine, keep looking back and fourth between the art in the mag and your art. Start to make comparisons, looking to see if your work would fit in. It helps you to see the strengths and weaknesses of your painting.

    I don't know if I could work on a few paintings at once, you rock!!

    Great idea to study artists, I'm going to steal your idea:)

  3. Thanks Prabal!

    Thanks Carrie! That's a great tip, I love the Artists helping Artists show, I'm glad you pointed it out to me! :)

  4. Great post, Crystal. Feeling a bit out of sorts myself today. I have so many things I want to paint that I can't seem to start one of them. I started one today and wiped it off. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I only got 2 hrs. sleep between two nights of work that has got me in a funk. I think one needs a clear head to paint and mine is anythig but clear at this particulary moment. Tomorrow is another day!

  5. I read a good post this morning from the Lateral Action newsletter that I get about "5Reasons Why You Need a Muse." Excellent commentary on inspiration and pushing ahead even when inspiration seems to have to tune in to that "muse" and keep not to get overly egoized over your own abilities while at the same time really having appreciation for the gift given you by God, or the universe, or whatever you believe in. Nice Lion...we have the real, wild ones up here...Bob has seen two this summer...Nice pussy cats but they'll take your dog or cat or chickens or goats, whatever ... can't help's what they do...never with malice...just hungry:-) And they are beautiful!

  6. Another beautiful painting in the making! I wish we had such amazing creatures in the uk! Great idea to go to a zoo to draw these animals :0)

  7. Great point about keeping the momentum going! I agree completely!

    I found you at Michelle Teacress' blog - your contest is fantastic:)

  8. One thing I've noticed about you Crystal is that you are very prolific with your painting. For me, if I had a number of paintings on the go at once, none of them would get finished! This is because I quickly get bored with a painting if I don't get it finished fairly quickly

    But I am guessing that you have some sort of studio. Most of my paintings are done in the dining room and when I stop a painting session, I have to put everything away. If I had a studio, I could leave everything out and it would be much easier to pick up where I left off, so in that case, maybe I could have several projects going at once.

  9. those are great tips. I do have something to start on but not sure why I haven't started yet.

  10. Love your mountain lion! Looks like it is going to be a marvelous piece!

    Right now I'm not feeling too much motivation as I had a looong day at work! But just looking outside on a beautiful fall day has been inspiring me as of late!

  11. Crystal, I'm wondering if you are following tip #3. Do you feel good about your own talent and effort?

    It's amazing! :)

  12. Hey doubt this mountain lion will turn out to be another extra ordinary artwork!
    As for the thought, well , I have a folder in my comp,where I drag and drop the images that interest me.Sometimes from the net , somtimes from my own photos.When I need a subject, I try to combine those images with some other 'props' to see if they work!Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't!So I keep a big, big bank of images.

  13. You are such an inspiration Crystal. I wasn't going to paint, I want to start! Your mountain lion is amazing so far. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished piece. Thanks for all the great tips you gave us.


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