Painting Quickly - Why Would I Want To do That?

1:43 PM

Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
 I would love to tell you that I sketched these wily critters out in the wilds of Ybor City, a historic area just outside of downtown Tampa, but I didn't. I sketched and then painted them in my studio. First off, we were in a busy parking lot and second, it was lunchtime.
Detail, Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
Sketching anything live is like hitting a moving target. Looks easy…until you try it. Besides, it was lunchtime. Instead, I gave myself a time limit of one hour.* Now you may wonder why I chose to sketch this so quickly…how about I share my reasons? (*And that one hour included drawing, painting and lettering).

The main reason I sketch quickly is because it guarantees that the sketch won't become too precious. (Insert Gollum's voice here.) You know what I'm talking about…things are going so good you become afraid of putting down the next mark for fear that will be the ruination of your sketch, your day and quite possibly your life.
Detail, Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
Next, it's almost always guarantees I'll make mistakes. Why in the world would you want to make mistakes, Laure? Glad you asked. Because mistakes happen when we're out in the field. They happen when we're in the studio, too. Mistakes are going to happen, so why not go ahead and push the envelope? The sooner we get comfortable making mistakes and learning to either recover from them or move on, the happier we will be in our sketchbooks.

There's also a thing called time. Maybe you've heard of it? If I asked most of you to sketch something quickly, you would, but you would take as much time as you needed.

Now I ask you, how often do you have all the time you need? If your life is anything like mine the answer is seldom. So it pays to learn to sketch in an allotted amount of time rather than taking all the time we want.
Wild Yard Birds, Ybor City
Stillman & Birn Beta Journal
11 x 8.5 inches, Full Spread
Watercolor and Ink
Challenge yourself to paint something in an insane amount of time. If it would normally take you an hour, give yourself twenty minutes and see what you can get done in that timeframe. I can almost guarantee you'll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes, to be sloppy, to sling paint with abandon, to have fun, to play, to fail and to have lunch. Did I mention lunchtime? Make sure you get some lunch. Ybor City is one of our favorite places to go for lunch as there are a number of quirky restaurants.

You might also want to consider kicking your partner, fear, to the curb. I challenge you to ask yourself exactly what it is you are afraid of…failure? Not creating a pretty page? Not looking like what you think it should? Worried about what others think of you? 

Okay from the top—

Failure: we all fail. It's how we learn, folks. Embrace those mistakes! 

Not creating a pretty page: As the old saying goes you have to kiss a lot toads before you get a pretty one or something like that. If you do make an ugly page, so what? Turn the page and go again, but I bet you learned something valuable creating that ugly page!

Not looking like you think it should: If you ever get a piece of art, a sketch or anything else to look like what's in your mind's eye, count yourself blessed and keep on creating. It's as rare as hen's teeth so don't expect it to happen often. 

Worried about what others think of you: Oh, my, there's so many things I could say to this one, but let me keep it polite…if someone criticizes your work, hand them a pen, some paint and a piece of paper and ask them to show you how it's done. Then sit back and watch. They'll either back pedal and remember an appointment they have or they'll sit down and show you how it's done. Pay attention if they do. You might just learn something. 

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19 Creative Thought(s)

  1. Great pages, Laure! Thumbs up to your working methodology and I love the egg for an O :)

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    1. Thanks, Pam. The eggy "O" was one benefit to waiting rather than doing this onsite.

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  2. this is a delightful post Laure' with all the wisdom you've held on to in your painting, sketching days. You know how much I admire your art and your encouraging post is very inspiring. Thanks also for visiting my blog; lovely to see you pop in.

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    1. Thank you, Carole! Loved those fairy wrens!

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  3. I love this spread, and your very positive and encouraging words. I completely agree that it's surprising how much you can get done in just a short amount of time. Now I just need to put that head knowledge into practice!

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    1. And I have to ask, what's stopping you?

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  4. Beautiful! It's so good to see your work and hear your advice and encouragement! It's so inspiring and fun too!

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    1. Thanks, Terry! Those chickens were lots of fun!

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  5. Great post, Laure!! Everything you said hit home (and made me smile with recognition). Good advice, wonderful sketching/painting, and well-written to boot!

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    1. Hey, Linda! Are you doing any sketching? Hope so!

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  6. What a fun page Laure. Glad to see you posting again. Great advise, too.

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  7. I will never forget the first time I saw wild chickens. In Key WEst. I thought it was so funny to see chickens trotting down a sidewalk. I love your sketches. I have totally surrendered to mistakes. I can't stop making them so I decided I must try to take the lesson it is teaching and go on. After all it isn't medical/life threatening.

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    1. Ybor City reminds me of Key West and I was delighted to find those yard birds wandering around in the flowerbeds of a parking lot. They seem to stay off the main drag. Smart birds!

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  8. I just love everything you have to say on this page. And the paintings are wonderful too.

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  9. Hi Laure,
    Glad to seeing you posting again! I missed you! Love the chickens and mostly your "right-on" observations1
    CathyO

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  10. Super chickens! If there are mistakes I don't know what they are because I see chickens and that's what you were after, right?

    I just love the solution to the last problem (worrying what others will think). I can just imagine the back pedaling and if they do know more than me, heck yes I want to know what they know!

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  11. Hi Laure,
    These are beautiful birds. They also remind me of those in Key West. You always give such good advice. Thanks for the last paragraph, Worried about what others think. I am going to memorize that one. So glad you're back and btw I love Gollum's Voice.

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