I have recently completed a large range of oil and oil pastel landscape paintings, a different medium to my acrylic and ink work. I simply love experimenting with all paint mediums!  Although I’ve been painting, consistently, for about eighteen years, I have never tired of the process. The more I paint, the more I want to paint. Similarly, the more I write, the more I want to write. Creativity comes from a place of abundance. Although each painting is recognizable as having been created by me, a viewer can also perceive different experiments in style, subject matter, art tools, and the range of paints that I have used.

Creativity is not static, and I for one, love experimenting with new ideas, techniques, and paint types. Although, largely, I have use acrylic paints for my art, I also enjoy painting with watercolors and inks. Each medium requires me to adapt to a new technique and by doing so, my versatility is increased. Acrylics are quick-drying and therefore allow me to work more speedily. Watercolors take longer to dry, depending on the type of surfaces used, and therefore, I find that I need to slow down when I create watercolor paintings.

Painting: In The White of The Night Butterflies Are Seen in Flight

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Acrylic paints provide me with the opportunity of layering and then discovering what lies beneath these layers.  It allows me to be spontaneous and work quickly. The range of acrylic materials is vast and provide me with opportunities to create texture, fluidity, and an iridescence. I enjoy doing penwork with inks, and from watercolor, I feel moved by its intrinsic transparency and brilliance. Plus, I like the ease of cleaning up after using them.

Painting: An Elephants Journey Through Butterfly Land

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However, of late, I have fallen in love with oils and oil pastels which offer a different kind of vibrancy and depth. I’m intrigued by the vibrancy of the colors and by how well they mix and blend together, and in fact, I have now built a collection of Abstract Landscapes comprising mixed media, oil, and oil pastel paintings mostly on 100% archival, cotton fiber paper and, also, on canvas wrap.

Many of these abstract oil and oil pastel paintings have been inspired by real-life vistas gained from my years of travel and backpacking, enjoying glorious mountain and ocean views. I try to capture the feelings evoked in me by the scenic beauty that I have been fortunate enough to experience. Although there are many good brands of oil pastels, the brand with which I like working best is Sennelier which, interestingly enough, were created for Pablo Picasso – forty-eight different colors at his request. Artists such as Van Gogh, Degas, Lautrec, Cezanne, used these oil pastels.

Painting: Mountains in Bloom

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Most artists over a lifetime, try new and different areas of creative work because of their intrinsic creative drives. Let’s take Pablo Picasso as an example: His seventy-nine year painting career can be divided into periods: the Blue Period, the Rose Period, the African Period, Cubism, Neoclassicism, Surrealism, and then, all his later work. By the time he was twenty, he was completing a painting every day, plus he was doing sculptures, ceramics, and many other art forms.

Henri Matisse, whose creative output spanned more than sixty years, created drawings, paintings, sculpture, lithographs, etchings, and paper cutouts (which he described as “drawing with scissors”), graphic art, book illustrations, furniture, stain-glass windows– the list goes on. And to think that initially, Matisse trained to be a lawyer! Fortunately for all of us, he never practiced law but chose instead to be an artist. He had discovered painting at the age of nineteen.

Vincent van Gogh in ten years, painted over nine hundred paintings, using oil paints with both natural and synthetic pigments.  Early on, he used oil pastels. Van Gogh also did many drawings and sketches. Edouard Manet painted about four hundred and thirty oil paintings, close to ninety pastels and over four hundred works on paper. Many artists tend to create continually over their lifetimes, never letting go of the opportunities for new artistic exploration and experimentation.

Have You Ever Had a Hunch?Creativity in its many shapes and forms, enthralls me. There is nothing static about creativity, and for me, my knowledge of and engagement in creative work, continues to expand. I find so much joy in the doing. I call painting, workplay.

When I paint, I abandon myself to the intuitive process and enter a state of uncensored discovery. I am simply present in the moment, open to surprises and trusting of whatever unfolds. It is a journey into mystery, a dream without doors.

Although I have a certain direction in mind when I paint landscapes or paint illustrations for my books, I generally begin to paint without quite knowing my route. I trust that I will know when the artwork feels right. Why am I able to sideline my conscious brain and let my intuition take over? It’s because I am not worried about making mistakes. I’m not worried about failure. I know that creative people make more mistakes than others because they try new things. As Albert Einstein said, “A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new”. A mistake is simply an experiment from which to learn.

I have tried working with so many kinds of paints and tools because I trust in the painting process, and am not worried about discovering, after all, that I do not have an affinity for a particular medium that I have explored. My internal dialogue flows effortlessly and unconditionally when I paint, and I suspend my judgement on a new medium or tool that I am using, until I have explored its potential quite thoroughly. Then, I decide if it is right for me or not. By being free of consternation and over-thinking, I am enabled to exclude any conscious interference which would get in the way of what the art is en route to become. As Walt Whitman said in “Song of Myself”, “Not I, not anyone can travel that road for you. You must travel it yourself.”

I find this creative journey wondrously mysterious and exciting. It’s a journey into the unknown and into an abundance of possibilities. As a creator, do try many different things over your lifetime. Honor your creative drive.  Even for those whose creative output has been huge, still try unexplored areas of work and remain open to the new instead of imitating what you have done successfully in the past. I wish you many exhilarating years of creativity!

Painting: Penguin on a Journey

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