Does Your Art Speak to You?

I recently read an article in “Pastel Journal” about artist, Bobbie McKibbin and her process for painting landscapes using soft pastels.  One statement in the article really resonated with me, Bobbie said, “she’s doing all the talking at the beginning of a new piece, but at a certain point, the painting starts to talk back.”  What a great statement!

That happens to me a lot when I’m painting.  By nature I’m a controller, painting loose or listening to my work often doesn’t happen until I’m well into the piece.  But once I’m open to letting painting have its own way all of a sudden the piece starts talking – sometimes it’s a lot of chatter!  And wow, it’s usually at this point that things like rocks, trees, weeds, clouds, pathways start showing themselves in the painting – it’s usually for the better.

I’m working on my second sunset and yesterday the painting started talking, all kinds of things started showing up in the painting:  two pathways, bushes in silhouette, and beautiful clouds have appeared in a cloudless sky.  When I stepped back, I just knew these were perfect for the setting.  Hopefully I’ll post the final painting this coming Monday.

Here is an example of a painting I did of the Bay Cove area in Portland, Me.  The scene started out as a hillside with a fence and no boats in the bay, but in the end turned into something very different.  Here is the final, as well as the rough workings after I started to put some boats into the water.



Pathway first round

Pathway first round

I’m curious, does your art speak to you when you’re creating?

About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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24 Responses to Does Your Art Speak to You?

  1. casandralee says:

    More so than I speak to it! Often times, I have no image in mind to depict, and come what does. The lines tell their own story, and I, in my greediness, sign the page.

  2. Marianne says:

    Yes, it does! 🙂

  3. exiledprospero says:

    The jazz guitarist Pat Metheny once said that the closer one gets to the finished product, the further away it seems. Perhaps that too is how art speaks.

  4. the more we fight, the stronger the piece becomes! like you, i always start with a plan and avision.. sometimes it goes like clockwork, tick, tick, tick… and other times, we quarrel. when i finally give it its rein, it all but paints itself. i am usually exhausted after those sessions, but then i step back and look at the energy in the painting and understand why i am tired!

    • Mary says:

      Hey Z, isn’t that the truth. How funny, it’s good to know I’m not alone.

      I know exactly what you mean and I’ll fight all the way through, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night thinking, “yeah, I should be doing XYZ with the painting” and I’ll go back into it the next day.

      As is what I’m painting now – we’ll see where this sunset takes me. Mary

  5. Tranquil. Lovely Mary.

  6. beautiful as others have said! 🙂 I am always amazed by your paintings!

  7. Petronette says:

    Hi Mary,

    Thanks for sharing your work in progress. It is nice to see the steps to come to the final result.
    I love the composition, beautiful colors and great work on back- and foreground. Very beautiful painting.

  8. meiro says:

    Beautiful …, as always.


  9. Cat Forsley says:

    lOVELY 🙂 and yes art speaks 🙂 🙂 it speaks volumes 🙂 xo

  10. violetski says:

    So beautiful Mary! Love it❤

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