How I went from Decorative art to Fine art
I have been a Tole and Decorative artist for many years, in the last several years I became increasingly lost and unhappy with the wonderful hobby I have had for so long.
Sometimes I just had no desire to paint and my husband says he had never seen me so disinterested in painting, and I had to agree but I just didn’t want to do it and had no idea as to why.
Sharon asked me to share my experience here; I agreed to share this so it may help someone else who may be having the same problems so here goes. I am not a writer but I will try to tell my story the best way I can.
Years ago I took classes in my area to learn how to do stroke work. Then I took classes to learn how to do advanced Tole work. Next I found a Bob Ross teacher and took 6 months of classes. I got it all down to a tee but I got tired of all of it. Then I found One Stroke….and I really thought this was what I would do forever. After 4 years of “one stroking” on every surface imaginable I lost my desire to lift a brush.
I went through several months like this and didn’t even go into my paint room. I was a lost soul; I felt I had lost my love and my purpose. I wanted to be an artist all my life. What was going on with me? This was really upsetting. I had a great life; I had a wonderful Husband, five great kids and 13 grandchildren. I had it all except the one desire I thought I wanted all my life was now defunct!
Was I experiencing depression? Was I having a hormonal problem? What on earth was wrong with me? I felt like I was happy in all other areas of my life, this was a puzzle.
I had to figure this out as I was growing increasingly upset. So I started to investigate. I found I didn’t not have the signs of depression, my health was fine so again I was asking myself “what is going on“?
At this same time I found the Purple Palette Magazine. I started reading about how to paint and about the great artists from the past and it suddenly came to me that I simply didn’t have the knowledge that I needed to be a “fine artist” which I had spent many years trying to do. It was kind of like trying to play the piano without knowing how to read music. I didn’t have a clue about the basics of art. I had no training in theory, even though I could paint a Bob Ross landscape I never knew why I was painting what I was painting. I could see that I didn’t have the tiniest bit of knowledge about composition. I could not mix a color if my life depended on it. I had developed the ability to control my brush but I did not know the fundamentals of painting fine art.
After I read the articles on this blog, I decided that maybe if I could start to learn more, maybe my desire to paint would be revived, maybe this was the problem.
The first thing I did was order Sharon’s Color Mixing Workbook. I took a few weeks and did nothing but sit and mix colors. This was so much fun and in the end I found I could now actually see a color and match it by mixing two or more colors together.
My spirits started to lift; I could see that maybe I was on to something. So the next thing did was get some books on basic art instruction. As I started learning I started to see the whole picture, I had lost interest because I could not go any further with art. I could paint pretty flowers and delightful little characters but I had no real knowledge that I could use to improve. I had no power to move forward, I was stuck.
I think I need to clarify something here, I am not discounting Decorative art, it is a great hobby for many people, and has given lots of joy to many. However, if someone wants to improve and become a fine artist there is just no way to do it with Decorative art.
I wanted more power to improve. Knowledge will always give you power so I needed more knowledge.
I needed to know the “why” of what I was going to paint, I could not just rely on the brush control I had or the natural talent I had shown since I was young.
That was over three years ago. Since then I have been painting up a storm. I have moved past the things I did with the Decorative art, I now know the in and outs of painting fine art and I know why I put colors where I put them. I understand how to paint a real landscape on canvas with accurate perspective instead of “happy” little trees and too bright mountains in the distance. I now know what tone, shading, light, shadow, depth and proportions actually mean and how to use them. I know what “form’ means and I am working on my drawing skills practicing how to draw “form“. What a “high” this has been! I can’t wait to get started with each and every new painting, I am never board or tired of painting, each time I paint I am learning and that learning has given new life to me and power to move ahead.
I think back to when I was just painting the same thing on a different surface, and I can see why I got so burned out with it. I now see people losing interest in Decorative art painting and I am not shocked or sad. I honestly believe it has run its course. Just like other crafts that get monotonous it is because you can’t move forward, once you have learned how to do it that is the end of learning and all you are left with is repetitious projects to paint. Some are happy with that but I wanted more.
I have friends that have experienced the same thing and they are now starting to look for ways to get more advanced training like I have.
I have since painted some of Sharon’s designs. I have learned a lot from her, and want to thank her for her support and kind words of encouragement.
I am very contented now with my art, I am enjoying the learning process and my husband is happy that I am back in my painting room and so are my kids.
I wish I had studied the basics of art long ago but I guess the old saying “Better late than never” really applies to my story.