Irvine Brush

8 X 10 inch oil painting on canvas panel.

Lately, I’ve been wiping more paintings than I’ve been keeping. This must be a period of growth because I haven’t been satisfied with any of my work lately. I know what you’re thinking, that all artists feel this way from time to time, but it’s a frustrating stage nevertheless.

Questions keep running through my head. Who am I as a painter? Who do I want to be? What am I saying in my work? Do I have a unique point of view?

After a lot of thought and many conversations with my painting buddy Dori, I’ve partially answered some of these questions (though I reserve the right to change my mind later).

Who am I as a painter – I’m still working that out, BUT I know that I like thick paint and bold brushwork. Lately, I’ve veered away from that.

Who do I want to be – The best me I can be (silly sounding but true). I want to have a strong sense of composition (something I’ve been working on), bold confident brushwork and unexpected color.

What am I saying in my work and do I have a unique point of view - Questions I’m still working on. They may never be completely answered. I often wonder if the artists I look up to have found their own answers. Hey, Richard Schmid, if you’re reading this I’d love to hear your thoughts (HA! I think he has a few more pressing things to do than read my little blog).

How about you, have you found any answers?

To purchase this painting and see more of my work log onto


Hi Kim. Love your questions. I guess Dori is discussing these things about who we are as artists with both of us. :) But you guys do it in person! I must find a community near here!

So, I'm finding that my brain doesn't help much when it comes to answering these questions. In fact, I recently gave my blog a new subtitle, Painting What Feels Right, because who we are as artists comes from some deep place with its own set of urges.

But we still want to understand our art, since we use our brains to manage our lives. So I started a list of things I'm drawn to, like your list. And ultimately, at least for my abstracts, it feels like I've hit home when my paintings have a sense of intensity and honesty; what my workshop teacher called fire in the belly (from the book). Maybe when we create while we're in that honest state, it doesn't matter what comes out?

Then again, next week my answer might change. Sigh.
You know I think all your frustration is paying off. This is a really good painting. My eye goes right in and I feel the shadows laying across the path. Love the way you handled the warm and cool, push pull and atmosphere.
I have come to the conclusion that I will never be totally happy with my work. And I am okay with that because it keeps me searching and trying new things. As long as I don't give up I am okay with the frustration. I've got both my ears. No drama just desire to paint and work all of these creative issues out and move on.
Karen said…
I looked at your painting today first, then read...and you've got it right there: the strong composition, and certainly the bold confident brushwork and unexpected color. Those were the first things I noticed about it.

Your questions are really thought-provoking, and I know I'll re-read them. I think they're all difficult to answer, and those answers seem to be morphing all the time in response to our growth. But they're exciting too...the possibilities are endless.

It's a funny we maybe latch onto an answer and run with it and feel confident for a while, then comes the growth spurt and suddenly the confidence evaporates and the paintings start getting wiped! Then we find another answer... It helps me so much to read of other artists' similar experiences with this.

My painting buddy Susan and I agree that we're pretty much the most indecisive painters around. We're always changing our minds about things, and it's okay, because we know we're bouncing ideas off of each other.

Keep going Kim!
When I saw your name, I knew ti was Dutch (I am Dutch and I live close to Whittier!) like the Beach Clouds most - glad I found you - visit my blog in January (flower)Celebrity Collection sometime. Glad I found you!
Isn't it wonderful to have a painting buddy to bounce your ideas and dreams off of? I love this new one, too. I think wiping sometimes adds a rich underpainting. I am surely fortunate to have a painting buddy in Judy Mackey. We were just reflecting on what changes both of our styles have taken over the past few years. I think it is all good because it is all growth! thanks again for a painterly glimpse of my old "home town."
tony said…
They're good questions but I truely hope your search for the answers is never ending. I know your frustrations well.
Be kind to yourself and remember we all stand before nature in awe. What youre attempting to do is no small feat. Your first landscape has strong masses which give the work somes bones. You say you like a larger brush stroke so try a 2-4" house painters brush. Thank you for your questions and transparency. It's refreshing .
I love your questions and think we all ask them of ourselves from time to time..... especially if we expect to continue the journey and grow as we go.
As an outsider looking in, I'd say your work is lovely and if you're enjoying it... What more can you ask??
Robin Roberts said…
Those are some great questions. Ones that I bet a lot of artists ask themselves often. I am in the same boat as I just recently started painting again after several years off. For me its a journey of discover and the more i discover the more I think I may be on this journey for quite some time. I am not a full time artist so it may take a while for people like me. But in a way, I hope it never ends. There is great joy in discovery and being on the journey. Heck, I bet Richard Schmid would still say he makes new discoveries everyday. I hope so anyway.
TheresaJ said…
Wow, really soul searching questions, Kim. I create because I love the process and peace it brings me. I don't know if I'd enjoy it as much if I heaped all of that on top of it. It's my diversion, my excape, my happy place. I love being surrounded by creative people, the exchange, the infectious energy. If I stopped to figure out where I was in the mix, I'm sure I'd be pretty insignificant, but as I said, it's for my pleasure. If others derive pleasure from what I create, then that's a bonus gift I treasure.
Hello Kim,
I think you have succeeded in who and what you are asking yourself. Your work is excellent.
Rick said…
I don't know about Richard Schmid, but Richard Green really likes your work and thinks that you're doing just fine as an artist.

Popular Posts