Sunday, February 5, 2023

A long-overdue update -- part 1

At least one of my faithful blog readers has noticed that it's been a long time since I posted anything, and wrote to ask me whether something dire was going on.  Thanks for asking, Karen, and no, nothing awful has happened on my end, except that for some reason I have gotten out of the blog habit and will have to perform some brain surgery on myself to get back in.  So I will do a couple of posts to bring you up to date on what's been going on since last fall.

First, an update on my daily art.  After 365 paintings in 2022, I came to the conclusion that I love to paint, but I have no ideas that I want to express in that medium.  I love the paint on the palette, the paint on the brush, the feel of the brush on the paper.  I love mixing colors and watching the accidental effects of wet-into-wet.  But throughout the year I struggled with what to paint.  I would get an idea, usually by copying from somebody else, and paint it more than once to see if it might strike a chord and stay with me.

In the past, when a student in my workshop or a blog reader would ask me whether they had my permission to use a technique I have used or taught, I would say of course you may (nobody owns an idea).  And if you like the technique, make it three times and by then it will change enough that it will belong to you, not to me.  I tried to apply this rule of thumb to my painting.

I've posted about the faces I painted based on black-and-white photos in the paper.  I did that 52 times, and maybe10 of them were pretty good.  But they were getting repetitive, and I didn't think that they in any way belonged to me.  

I thought maybe if I put some stitching into the paintings it would resonate, since stitching is so integral to the rest of my artistic life.  I made several with hand stitching, and a few with machine stitching, and again, I liked them, but there was no surge of desire to keep on making them and after ten tries I stopped trying.

I had a nice long run at the end of the year with 15 paintings following the tutorials of Vanidas Mangathil on Instagram (he's also on YouTube).  I loved painting the little people and I highly recommend his instruction if you're into painting little people.  But after two weeks I didn't see any signs of them moving into my art space.

By the end of the year, I had decided that I was done with painting.  In fact, I even cut up a bunch of pages from my painting sketchbooks to make my Christmas ornaments.


  1. Kathy, thanks for catching us up. I also use Blogger and you and Del Thomas show up on my "Reading List" and I check in on you both. Yes, have missed you.

  2. Hiiiii Kathy!! So glad things are fine, 'cause I've been thinking about you too. I do think that keeping a blog going over years and years is harder than it looks! And yes, I've missed reading too!

  3. thank you missed your posts. I so agree with teaching something so that students then should see how they can make it their own . Irene in N Irland.

  4. IIRC, it's a time honored practice for beginning artists to copy more experienced artists' work. As you say, the trick is to take all that learning make it your own.

    I'm glad your blog absence was not due to things going off the rails.

  5. So glad you are back and life is moving along with little drama. Missed you

  6. Ooo, I like those little people paintings, but I wouldn't associate them with the art I think of as yours. Can't imagine how you would incorporate them. Good on you for persevering with your painting but also for realizing it wasn't leading you to new thoughts and ideas.