News — art struggles

Alla Prima Painting

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Alla Prima Painting

"Alla prima" is a term I just discovered last week. It means "at first attempt" or "all in one go" and I just love this idea! It describes my favorite way to paint and it makes it sound so much more legitimate. "Hello, I'm Jen Roberts and I paint alla prima."  It just sounds fancy that way! Wikipedia also tells me the French version of this is "au premier coup" which I like quite a bit too (possibly due to my years spent studying French in college!). Painting alla prima just fits my impatient nature. I don't want to fiddle...

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Loving My Art

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I recently discovered a new artist who I'm slightly obsessed with: Gwenn Seemel. She has an incredibly distinctive style and huge backlog of blog posts for me to catch up on. I was recently going through a series of her 17 tips for loving your own art, and thinking about how to apply them to my own work.Many of the items on her list are opposites, such as suggestions 1 & 2: find other artists' work that you consider boring, and learn to appreciate other artists' work. So lately I've been trying to think really critically about my reaction to...

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Fear of the Page

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I've seen a lot of advice around the internet on how to overcome fear of the blank page as an artist. I can totally see how that huge, unblemished white expanse that you spent your hard earned dollars on could be intimidating. Much more often however, I experience fear of the second layer.  Putting down a beautiful first wash is easy. Watercolor's flow and mind of its own means it will do amazing things without much work from me. Deciding what to paint on top of that--without screwing the whole thing up--is hard! I often buckle under the pressure, and end up...

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"Self Taught" isn't derogatory

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Deciding to paint somewhat late in life means I spend more time than I'd like second guessing myself. That nasty whiny voice comes up and wonders "what basics of design and composition am I clueless about because I didn't formally study art?" No one's ever actually said or even hinted anything remotely like that to me of course! My self doubt just seems to have a way of sneaking in.Being "self-taught" may still have some negative connotations, but I think a lot of that is fading as more and more of us become self-taught via the internet. The current pandemic and...

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World Watercolor Month 2020 Wrap Up

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World Watercolor Month 2020 just ended. For the second year in a row I made (and achieved) my goal to paint every day of the month. I'm glad I achieved what I set out to do, but it was enough of a source of frustration that I just don't think I should shoot for that next time. I struggled with inspiration and carving out time to paint every day. Some days I just didn't feel like painting--often I was exhausted and drained after a full day of my "real" job. Or we were super busy fitting in other chores and tasks in the...

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