How to Paint Happy

Painting is hard. Don’t make it harder by reciting negative mantras.

No one starts out hating art

When we first started painting, we were full of wonder. Swirling paint, mixing colors and creating storylines was enchanting. We made all the things we loved: trees, rainbows and smiling people holding hands.

Then we look around and spy some one doing it better. That’s all it takes to cast doubt and our creative spark wobbles.

The truth is that the amazingly gifted kid, simply put pink flowers in the foreground of a dark painting.

All of this happens in grade school! So when your seven year old shows you the painting he made, he worked on it just as hard as you did at your job that day. Take a moment and say something intelligent. Ask him why he chose that color or ask him to tell you the story of his painting. Listen and learn.

We are all learning so be nice to yourself, celebrate your victories. Getting your gear together is a victory. Organizing the studio is a victory. Get into the habit of complimenting yourself, your friends, the mail carrier, a waitress because we all need a little happiness to continue. That way, when someone compliments your work you won’t be thrown off balance. Say thank you and how much you appreciate the compliment. Anything but, do you really think so? I messed up the water and the trees are all leaning to the left.

Wow, that wasn’t what anyone expected to hear. I whoop or hop, sometimes I do a little dance. Sure it looks mad but I am experiencing joy, so why not?

People have come up to me and asked me who I am talking to? This usually happens when I am working out a tricky bit. I laugh and tell them what I am actually doing.

Look, people don’t know how to talk to artists and their only references are from sitcoms and their friends that paint to relax.

I tell them. I am trying to pick out a color for the shady side of the rocks that is a bit surprising and fun.

Now back to my dance off with the cat.

Stay positive and paint happy

Published by Lisa Mahony

Lisa Mahony is an American contemporary fine artist who loves painting scenes of California in oil, gouache and acrylic. She shows her original artwork in galleries in Ventura and in September in San Marino, California at The Old Mill. Lisa's natural language is painting. Her earliest memories are of drawing and creating a storyline in order to paint. It is the easiest way for her to communicate all the beauty she sees in the world. Painting en plein air (on location, usually with friends) is a great way to meet people and get better together. I paint and sketch daily and I also enjoy painting challenges.

2 thoughts on “How to Paint Happy

  1. You said that wonderfully. Judgement is a mortal danger to every creative process – and no creative process is just “for fun” in a negative way. It is for fun and joy and excitement but that doesn’t mean that being creative is something not important or easy to achieve. No matter in which form but art stays art and every artist is already hard enough on himself. So taking time and appreciating what another human being has created is the least we can do.

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful and elegant reply. I am glad you got it. Creating can be easy or hard as all professional artists know. The best way to approach your sessions is with a goal. That way, you can see your progress or if you need to make your message more powerful or your color palette more harmonious. It is a wonderful way to share without words.

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