After many months of not finding time to oil paint, I’m making time for it again. Painting can be a very peaceful distraction from what’s going on in the world.
Too Busy to Paint
I spent a decent amount of time last summer learning to oil paint, and I continued painting into the fall as I did some paintings as gifts for Christmas. I really enjoyed it and found it to be a great way to de-stress from the pandemic.
However, in the winter, I became really busy learning to set up my website and this blog. And I didn’t paint again until May, when I did just two paintings.
But after that, I launched this blog publicly, and the work was steady to keep up. Then it was suddenly summer and I needed to complete outdoor projects, like the tulip, and the barn quilts. And those projects took way more time than I had anticipated.
On top of all that, I’ve been working on my first pattern to sell in my shop – which is going to launch on Monday – watch for that! So even though I’ve wanted to paint again for a few months now, my to-do list was always so long.
Making Time to Paint
But I am learning that I need to find more balance because I’m feeling quite tired. I need some time to recharge and to do creative things that are just for me. So last weekend, I made time to paint. I didn’t get around to it until Sunday evening, when everything was else was done. But it was better than nothing.
I greatly prefer painting from something to look at, whether that’s a photograph or a study of another painting. For this painting, I found a painting I love the colours of, and the perspective. It’s definitely more colourful than most paintings I’ve done previously, which have been more muted. But it excited me.
For this piece, I studied a painting by Lisa Kyle, and it’s called Into an Autumn Meadow. I’m learning that the few paint colours I have are best suited to a muted, impressionistic palette. I was not able to mix all of the brighter colours that were in Lisa’s painting, and so mine is different. But that’s ok. I really like the perspective in this one, and it makes me want to wander through the meadow and into the forest.
Then it also happened to be my birthday recently, so I decided to spend the morning painting. This would be two birds with one stone, so to speak – enjoyable for me, and I could write this short post about it (so, also work).
To find inspiration to paint from, I turned to a Twitter account that I’m following called @canadianpaintings. There are so many horrible things happening in the news lately and it’s difficult to not get stressed, angry, or discouraged. But the Canadian Paintings tweets have the opposite effect for me.
Each day, they tweet a few paintings done by Canadians. Some are old paintings, some are new. There are paintings in many different styles and mediums, and some by famous painters. But most I’ve never heard of before. Some are not my taste, but I appreciate all of them and they inspire me.
Landscapes are my favourite, and I enjoy painting landscapes. Personally, I believe that Canada is particularly suited as a subject of landscapes because we have such a wide variety of types of natural landscapes to choose from. I love when I see a painting of a landscape tweeted by Canadian Paintings and it reminds me of a place I’ve been. Then I feel delighted when I read the title and realize that it IS that place, and I have been there. And it fills me with wonderful memories.
Beach At Dusk
I chose two paintings to study from the @canadianpaintings twitter feed. The first is called The Agate Hunters, Martinique Beach, N.S. by Bruce DeLaine, 1977.
I omitted the figures from the painting because my painting is the size of an index card and I didn’t feel I could do them justice. (Though they aren’t index cards, as I sometimes like to paint on. I painted on stiff canvas boards for the first time because I found them already toned and ready to go in my little wooden box). I also couldn’t mix some of the brighter tones of paint that were in the original, and I feel the painting suffers for that, but I enjoyed painting it.
Sunset Over Water
I chose a second painting to study called Evening Sky by Tessa May, 2017. This was partly because I wanted to use up some of the paints I’d mixed for the previous painting that were still on my palette.
I struggled with the clouds and I am not quite happy with them, but from far away it’s quite pretty. And it was definitely fun and challenging to paint something very different from what I’ve done before. I liked putting the sunset reflecting on the water.
Beginning to paint again felt wonderful, and I’m going to try harder to fit it in, at least more often than every four months. For me personally, it’s such a great way to shut everything else out – social media, work, the news – even the dishes that are waiting for me!
I hope that you also have something that you love to do that makes you feel the same way. I think it’s so important.
Painting for Distraction – or Other Hobbies
I want to hear from you. What activities do you like to do to de-stress or block out things that are bothering you? Do you get to do them as often as you’d like? Let me know in the comments below.
All the best,