February 19, 2022

You Asked: Yes, I Am Still Painting



I am warning you up front: this post will be a little self-indulgent. As regular readers know I started painting almost 2 years ago. I had run across some work my father had done after he and my mom moved into a retirement community. For someone who showed no artistic inclinations until then, he suddenly became captivated with learning to sketch and then to paint.

I was looking for something new to stretch my creative wings a bit, something that I had never tried before. I was convinced that this type of inventiveness wasn't in my genes. But, we felt that same way about my dad until he proved all of us wrong. So, I gave it a try.

Progress has been steady, but slow. Much of what I produce gets a coat of white paint over it and I try something else. Betty is the artist in our house. She has tried to teach me some of the basics. However, being rather stubborn, much of what I do is the result of trial and error.

Importantly, even though I am not happy with some of what ends up on the canvas, I do get excited each time I start something new. The blank canvas and tubes of acrylic paint offer a fresh beginning. Anything and everything is possible.

The only judge is me. If the end result is pleasing I put it on display for a while in my office or the living room. If the colors are a bit muddy, the details lacking, or the end results not something I want to look at, that attempt is chalked up to the learning process. I take a few days off and tackle the next project.

What all of this is teaching me is the bottom line lesson I want to pass along to you. Being afraid of doing something new means missing an opportunity to find a fresh way to gain a sense of satisfaction. Even if what you are working on is never ready for prime time, that doesn't make the effort any less important. 

Forever I have shied away from anything where I would be a beginner. I just didn't like the feeling of not being good at something, immediately. Painting is helping me conquer that silly attitude. I am quite obviously a beginner, but am OK with that status.

Several readers have asked if I am still putting brush to canvas. Maybe my dogged pursuit inspires them to keep going at whatever is not quite as simple as it looks. So, to assure you I am pursuing my inner Van Gogh (or Gramma Moses), here is a sampling of some of the paintings that have not found their way to the trashcan since the last time I dared to show my efforts.











And the practice and attempts continue!


22 comments:

  1. I'd say you're making excellent progress, Bob. That first painting is my favorite - I like the way the tree frames the beauty of the lake and hills. Do you think that, because art is so subjective, the focus is more on growth than goals?

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    1. Since I have no intension of selling or displaying my paintings, then yes, my focus is definitely more on growth than goals.

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  2. Nice work Bob. Yes, going from expert to novice is HARD. We have a Nursing Theorist who has done a great deal of research and writing on Novice to Expert. (Pat Benner for anyone interested in reading some of it).

    I would say you are no longer novice.

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    1. Thank you, but I still feel very much the novice. What seems to happen that a portion of a painting pleases me, but then there is part of it that does not.

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  3. wonderful, it doesn't have to be museum quality, it's for you. Like I tell myself about pickleball, not that I win every game it's for the exercise.

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    1. I want very much to learn pickle ball.. I am held back a little by my lack of athleticism and coordination, but I loved batting a tennis ball around with my husband when we lived in a community with a tennis court a while back.. I think I MIGHT be able to learn! SPORTS truly intimidate me, having been a couch potato till age 40 when I lost weight took up hiking and lifted some weights.. it was fun to get “strong” but I am still not good at coordination sports.. still ,I think. I will revisit pickle ball and see where I can learn…

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  4. These are lovely and you are inspiring! Thank you for daring to share.

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    1. "Daring" is a good word! Thanks for the encouragement.

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  5. Amazing and fun!! I especially love the MOON piece!! know what you mean about that feeling of not liking to be a beginner.. I was very competent as a Nurse and a medical office manager.. I even taught others how to do it! As an artist,I fell i will ALWAYS be a beginner. In the art group I attend, I am the amateur,though there are a few others.. but for the most part I am surrounded by some AWESOMELY talented doll makers,quilters, oil painters,etc.. and it can be intimidating.. (good for the humbling of the ego,however, a lesson in itself!) Our leader at The art group is so supportive and absolutely insists we enjoy our art at whatever level..and to keep at it! She gives us opportunities to try new things .. Part of retirement has been a lesson in how we just don’t have to “excel” at everything! We can just meander a bit through hobbies and activities as the mood hits..I find I do get great pleasure from taking some on line sketching classes and improving as I go along, but it is not imperative.KEEP PAINTING BOB!!

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    1. We just got back from a week at Disney World, and I am itching to start something new. That is a good sign.

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  6. Yes it is good to learn new things. I like the tree and red building covered in snow and the river with a small rapids and bright red and orange bushes. I congratulate you on painting so well.

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    1. Thanks, Tara. The red barn with tall tree is one I am happiest with so far.

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  7. Good for you! (I particularly like the moonscape.) I think one of the benefits of this stage of life is that we are pretty comfortable with who we are and have less to prove than we did when we were younger -- which allows the freedom to fail that it is an inevitable part of learning something new.

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    1. I agree, Jean. The only person who I really worry about is my reaction to the finished product. My family is very supportive with all the right words, which is nice. But, the ultimate judge is me, one of the blessings of age.

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  8. Bob,

    I got kicked out of art class in high school because of my lack of even marginal talent for painting (they let me back in for film making). I absolutely admire and applaud what you have accomplished. Think about selling your work. I can imagine someday someone auctioning off an "early Bob Lowry original" for big bucks. It could happen. ;)

    Rick in Oregon

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Rick. Let's just say I am not planning my retirement around the sale of my work!

      My wife was told by a professor in college she didn't have a future in art. That comment killed her creativity for 20 years.

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  9. I love those last two especially. Your comment about not liking to try something that you wouldn't be good at immediately reminded me of a story about my youngest daughter. After years of excelling at basketball, she wanted to try lacrosse in high school. She came home after her first practice announcing that she hated lacrosse because she didn't know how to play. I asked her how long she had been playing. Two hours, she said. Why don't you try it two more hours and then decide, I suggested. She came home after the next practice saying that she loved lacrosse.

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    1. I think we are hardwired to expect success. After all, if a caveman failed he would be eaten or starve to death. That survival instinct carries into lacrosse and painting!

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  10. You've come a long way, Bob! I particularly like the farm field with house and wagon.

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    1. That was actually done with ink and pen. Glad you liked it.

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  11. Hi Bob! I've finally found your blog again...I thought you had stopped and so glad you are still here blogging away! I think your works are very admirable! Have you tried any You Tube videos? I found Angela Anderson's Thankful Art an excellent resource and have found my painting improving! Sometimes we just need to learn new things and be okay with the process!

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    1. There are a lot of great resources all over the Internet, with YouTube being one of the best. I do try to find a new source of inspiration every so often, and you are right, it is okay to struggle with something new for awhile.

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