Painting as Research

November 9, 2014

“Paintings are but research and experiment.  I never do a painting as a work of art.  All of them are researches.  I search constantly and there is a logical sequence in all this research.”  — Pablo Picasso, from The Artist in His Studio by Alexander Liberman

Watercolor sketch of squirrel

Watercolor sketch of squirrel

Watercolor sketch of squirrel

Watercolor sketch of squirrel

Watercolor sketch of squirrel

Watercolor sketch of squirrel

I believe these are my sixth, seventh, and eighth watercolor paintings of a squirrel made in the last couple of weeks.  After making botanical-themed sketches for so long, I find myself drawn these days to animal portraits.  Can I learn to be more expressive in my work?  Will these latest experiments be a precursor to human portraits?  (Oh, how I would love to become good at painting people!  But at the moment I am intimidated by people portraits and landscapes.)

For now, I am not on any deliberate path of lessons and improvement.  I’m just following my urges.  And having fun.  I am pondering the advice of Julia Cameron, writer and artist coach, who says, “When we are fixated on getting better, we miss what it is we already are — and this is dangerous because we — as we are — are the origins of our art.  ‘We’ are what makes our art original.”  (from Walking in This World)



6 Responses to “Painting as Research”

  1. Choral Eddie Says:

    I love your work and I love squirrels.

  2. shoreacres Says:

    I’d say you’ve got the expressiveness down pat. When I look at your watercolor sketches, I see the very essence of squirrel. They’re wonderful.

  3. Margaret Says:

    I am really loving your squirrels! You capture their personalities perfectly. How many do you paint before you succeed in getting one you like?

    • Rosemary Says:

      What you see is what I’ve been painting. I’m not more prolific than that. I will admit that I tore up one attempt before I finished it. I usually start with a light pencil sketch, and I do erase lines until I get a fair drawing. Then I paint. The drawing helps the finished painting, I think.

  4. Zoë Says:

    These are great! I love how squirrely they really are 🙂

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