Thursday, January 27, 2011

Landscape! Work in Progress

the promised landscape poll result painting
10" x 14" watercolor (detail)

Finally, here is the landscape that won the 'what should I paint next?' poll a few months ago. Still a work in progress at this point, but coming along.

I've only ever painted one other landscape and it was a big, huge, ugly disaster. So I approached this one with more than a little fear.

But, once I started painting, the fear left and I realized that it's not the subject that was scary, but the idea in my heart that I would fail. Again.

It reminded me that it doesn't really matter what your subject is, a portrait, flower, horse, or even a landscape, what matters is how you see your subject.

Harley Brown said, "I don't know the first thing about a horse's hind end, but I can draw it. A cowboy, or an artist, or anyone, can look at my drawing and say, 'That Harley really knows his horses!'

I don't know horses. I just know how to observe a horse.'"

The man is truly a genius. :)

This is what I tell myself when I'm trying to think myself out of the fear of failure at the easel:

All it takes to remove the fear when you approach your next work is your ability to observe. You are an artist! You know how to observe! You've done it millions of times.

Stop overthinking it.

Stop worrying about that barn and field and just paint what you see. It's really just a rectangle and some abstract shapes.

You can paint that. Because you are an ARTIST.

Now, dear friends, you must tell me. . .

Am I the only one that gives themselves motivational pep talks?

Sure hope not.


  1. Yea Crystal....wonderful start to your landscape. I give myself plenty of motivational speeches just look at all the various subjects I've been tackling lately. None are perfect by any means but it's what I can do right now. I will love doing them again next year to see how much I've improved my skills. Love everything you do...:)

  2. Crystal, keep giving the motivational talks! I appreciate them.

  3. Always do a lot of talking! And, you're right just depend on the skills you've acquired and dive in! After all, each piece is a learning experience in itself. And, we build on those as well.
    Looks like going for shapes, etc. are working for you. You've got a good start going. Much of the portrait super skills that you have will shine thru the landscape, too. Happy painting!

  4. a wonderful beginning crystal and an inspirational post. i use intermittent pep talks peppered with procrastination and lots criticism. i've bookmarked this post and will refer to it in those moments of angst. thank you so much for sharing your wisdom, observations and incredible gift.

  5. I absolutely love the way those clouds are looking! I have the same problem with faces (a problem I know you do not have) but I agree, I need to look at them as an object, not a face! This is going to be an awesome landscape!

  6. It is looking so good so far, Crystal, and I really need to find that book to read, I think I would like this man! Thanks for sharing your motivation.

  7. The subject isn't as important as your approach to whatever you choose to paint. It is all shapes, values, and colours. It is all in how you LOOK and SEE the subject. This is off to a great start. Looking forward to seeing how it progresses. And yes, I have to give myself pep talks on a regular basis - if I don't nobody else is going to either!

  8. Great start! Can't wait to see the finished product!

  9. I dont give myself so long pep talks. I just say to myself 'better luck next time'. :) And you are building up the suspense really well. We all now really really want to see the finished painting.

  10. Looking good so far!

    No pep talks here, I sing to myself. Which makes others want to give me a pep talk :lol:

  11. Here is some motivational talk. First of all, I cannot imagine you failing at any artistic endeavor! Secondly, we all have the ability to create as long as we love it, that is all that matters. :-)

  12. Hey, thanks for the pep talk! I'm not good at giving them, but I always need to receive them!!!

  13. I could hardly get your page open quickly enough when I read that you had your landscape wip post. I think it's looking fantastic. I love the dramatic clouds. I agree with Harley Brown quotes. When I was in the Paul Jackson workshop he kept saying paint what you see, not what you think you see. When we get our brains involved that's when it all falls to pieces:) Painting for me is definitely an emotional process, the only time in my life when I let go of control!! Congrats of conquering your fears!

  14. You're right. That is coming along very nicely. I especially like the sky/clouds.
    If I didn't give myself pep talks, eventually I wouldn't be able to get out of bed. I am a pep talk fan. :)
    PS I miss seeing you on your writing blog.

  15. I wanted to check on your little archer progress and found this! totally unexpected! it's good to see you've put brush to paper and started the landscape so pep talk yourself as much as you want dear, it's working!

  16. I have to give myself pep talks all the time!!!
    I'm so glad that you are posting this as a W.I.P. It will be SO interesting to see it in stages :0)


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