Into the mist: Finding your artist’s voice, an abstract landscape, and just draw.

Pines and Mist, color sketch for painting, KG Taylor

This painting sketch makes me want to get started tonight on a big one, maybe 36″ wide or so. It may be very abstract, but it seems so real to me. It’s the way I see nature, with strong shapes that move, a path to a far away place that the humid atmosphere turns to a misty blur. Okay, the red accents are my own, definitely not from nature. But if you don’t put in your own touches, why paint? Painting is about interpreting nature for me, not trying to copy it.

Sometime between early art work and today an artist begins to find a “voice.” The fortunate ones find it early on, maybe even before age 20 if they paint often enough. My niece and painter, Lori Clark Freeman is such a person.

I only began to “officially” study art in my senior year of college, after I returned from a life-changing summer backpacking through Europe with girlfriend Terry. Here I am, decades later, finding my voice that has been making sounds for quite some time. Guess you have to learn to recognize it, separating out the work that I could put in another place I might call “interesting, but let it go.” Filter, filter.

When I was an art student in Boulder in the seventies, I tried every art and craft I that crossed my path. I especially loved silkscreen printing and ceramics. I finally determined to narrow down to my first love, painting, yet vowed get a kiln when I retired someday, loving clay so much. (Fabric art was there as well, and I do that today.)

So here is my final realization. My artist’s real voice begins with drawing: the first sketch, the first doodle and the way I keep going with the idea in the next thumbnail sketch. The drawing is the first real thing that happens after the brain imagines it. It is so quick that the artist doesn’t even have time to analyze it, which is right. Drawings don’t have to be perfect or beautifully done. Maybe more interesting or useful if they are not.

Art expression and “style” crosses the various materials we use, hooray for that! Please comment if you have been looking for your favorite medium or subject matter to paint or make into a quilt, etc. I love to hear of your projects and ideas you are thinking about.


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3 Responses to “Into the mist: Finding your artist’s voice, an abstract landscape, and just draw.”

  1. Leslie Ann Clark Says:

    All I can say is “Refuse To Choose!” How fun to do it all! I spoke with many artists at Surtex who had booths FULL of different styles. It was wonderful!


  2. Barbara Says:

    Karen – Your color sketch is wonderful, warm and cozy – like a blanket. I love how all the edges are soft. Will your final painting be the same way?


    • karen Says:

      I hope so, I’ve been working on softer edges and am even thinking of doing this one with oils. Now that weather is warmer I can open up all the windows to ventilate!


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