Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Happy Little Mountain- a Bob Ross inspired painting.

After returning from a long vacation in the states, it took me some time to pick up the paint brushes again, I just got busy with other things. Last weekend,  I was itchy to start a new painting project at home, and I wasn't quite sure what to paint. But I have been exploring various art instructional videos on the net, where-ever I can find them.  I came across some instructional videos from "Bob Ross", who had a long standing television show in the U.S. on oil painting. While Bob was from Florida,  he had lived for some time in Alaska, and so many of his paintings were inspired by the beauty he found in Alaska. One video I found of Bob's was on how to paint a simple mountain scene. So I decided, since I have just returned from a really nice vacation in Alaska, this seemed like the appropriate painting project for me to start.  So I set up my computer such that I could watch and paint along with Bob Ross in doing this painting of a mountain scene.  Bob's show is 30 minutes, so it took him 30 minutes to paint a similar scene, however, being the beginner and slow poke that I am, I spent about six hours on this painting and only took a short break for dinner. When I paint at home I tend to lose track of time, which is a good sign, I guess..
Every time I paint, I feel as if  I go through such a personal internal process, I go through a whole set of emotions. Often because things don't always turn out as you expect them to in each stage of the journey as you paint.  I had a number of frustrations to deal with. I had trouble with the paint brushes, as some of them were new, they started shedding hairs onto my canvas and into the oil. This was quite frustrating, I had to try and scratch them out with my finger nails until a friend passed me tweezers, which really was such great help. I recommend using tweezers for such problems. (Later, in watching another art video, the instructor mentioned that if you are using a new bush,  you should wash it first to get out the loose hairs. Now I know better :)
Aside from that, I also noticed I was splashing paint all over the marble floor and nearby furniture. I had to stop and clean that up twice before proceeding, I then covered the floor with a sheet. (Also donated by the friend who gave me the tweezers. Thank goodness for helpful and generous friends!)  Thereafter, I began to get frustrated with the clouds, I didn't like the way the clouds looked, so I re-did them, and re-did them and I watch that section of Bob's video a number of times but I still couldn't get my clouds like Bob's or even to the point where I just liked my clouds. They were not "happy little clouds" as Bob would say... Well after many attempts of re-doing, I finally told myself just paint the clouds and move on, even if they are not as you want them at this point in time, I needed to do the clouds so I could move on to the rest of the painting. And so finally, I did. I just did the clouds, they are not as I really want them but I needed to move forward.  I do think that once I made that decision,  things started to go smoother and I started to find the "flow" or the "zone".  In painting the mountain, Bob uses a special palette knife, the one he uses is wider. This was also a bit of a challenge for me for a number of reasons, first I have never used a palette knife to paint with before and so I wasn't really sure how to use it properly, and secondly my knife was thin and not at all shaped like Bob's palette knife. But similar to my personal challenges with the clouds I made a decision to just try my best and keep going.  I allowed myself to experiment without insisting on perfection because I knew due to my lack of experience and knowledge, my mountain and this painting was not going to come out exactly like Bob's or look as good as he can paint it, and you what- that is just fine. This is the constant internal struggle that the beginner goes through, I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way. In each painting, you got through this process, you learn about yourself and you learn to work with yourself and to allow yourself to just accept that you don't know how to do it all, and some parts may look great and others may not, but regardless, when you are finished with the painting, you are much further ahead then when you started. And so, perseverance, practice and patience with yourself are key. It's all about the journey.


Sunday, June 5, 2011


There are times, when I feel just a bit overwhelmed. Overwhelmed as this latest project seems to demand much more from me than my current ability can offer..  I spent the afternoon at ArtSpace today working on my latest project which is known as "Gone Wild".  I decided to do this project to  force myself to step a bit out of my comfort zone ("check"), and try something a bit different, with lots of brightness and colors. But in the short time that  I've been working on this project, I have on occasions, just felt totally overwhelmed , almost to the point of being frozen, which then forces me to stop and just review and re-analyze. Yes, I know, still too much "left" brain, the left brain always wants to know exactly how it's going to get there, how it is going to achieve the end goal. But I thought "painting" is suppose to be "right" brain, more of "feel" the "flow" and don't worry so much about every stroke of the "brush", but rather find your own "flow" and go with it..  This was today's lesson, my personal lesson.  Yes, I felt lost at times, uneasy and unsure of myself . It got to the point where I didn't even know what color or what brush "stroke" to take next, but in the end,  it doesn't matter... Let me say that again... It doesn't matter. Painting, similar in life, it doesn't always matter if you don't know exactly what direction, color or brush stroke to do next or if you don't know exactly how to do it, the important thing is that you just do it, that you just "try".. If you don't like what you've created, you can either paint over or start again, but the important thing is to try, and  then see how it goes. Before you know it, you will find your own flow.  And that's the real lesson, that is what is most important,  it's finding your flow, in  your own journey.  

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Preparation and planning are key in oil painting- but then that's what one would expect to hear from someone who has spent most of their days living and working in a "left" brain world. While, I am trying to slowly develop my abilities and let the "right" brain rule, I do find that some planning or completed "vision" in one's mind at mimium is needed. This painting is an example of poor planning and a lack of direction or vision, and so it is yet to be completed. Eventually, I will come back to it.. Maybe..