Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Paint with Confidence

Confidence - we've all heard the lecture, read the book, and shared posts about it on social media. We've been inspired to greatness, been overwhelmed by frustration, and overcome by a sense of failure. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH PAINTING? EVERYTHING!

While I've experienced many epiphany-like moments in my artistic journey, I believe the greatest impact any single experience has made to date came about two years ago. It came in the form of blatant, in your face, confrontational words that seemed to spew from my mentor's mouth (in a most loving way, of course) as he called me out on my lack of confidence. "You must paint confidently," he told me. Of course, I already knew this and, in my mind, I was. "No negative words, no negative thoughts, no negative responses...nothing that even resembles negative in any manner." While devastated that I wasn't the perfect student, the perfect pupil I had hoped to be, his words made an impression. I began to take note of not only what my words might be, but, what my thoughts were as I painted. What was actually going on inside my head? My painting changed!

Now, as I paint, I know the painting that results is going to be lovely. Is that me being conceded? No. I am just being confident. Is the painting going to be perfect? NO, absolutely not. Is it going to be what I am hoping for, maybe - maybe not; but, it will be better than the last one. It will be a step in my journey. I'm always working to try to change my brush, vary my look, grow as artist. Am I achieving that goal? Yes and no - I keep raising the bar. However, along the way, I will, at least, create some pretty paintings. 

My point? Give confidence a try. As you approach anything to do with painting for the next week, month, or year, do so confidently! Don't allow yourself to be intimidated by anything or anyone. Surround yourself with only the positive. In classes or seminars, don't sit by the most negative people in the room, don't allow yourself to feel inadequate because you've never painted the new style being taught, don't allow yourself to be intimidated by other painters or even the teacher for that matter. Recognize that you, like everyone else, is on a journey. We are all on a path. We are all in a different place on that path. You got this! If you need help, ask. Don't ask in a timid, meek, "I can't do this," kind of way. Ask for specific guidance. Will yours be like the teacher's? Let's hope not. Be the best "you" you can be by adding techniques to your toolbox and working to develop your own style.

As many of my students and followers know, I'm booking more seminars, scheduling more travel teaching engagements, and conducting community workshops - building my business (confidently). I've been amused and disheartened by one word "intimidated." What? Painters are actually expressing a sense of intimidation by my work, my style, the casualness of my brush. And, the thought of booking or attending a seminar to learn my style is "scary." Crazy! My response - I can teach you! How do I know this? I am confident in my abilities as an artist and as a teacher. Of course, in this equation, I must assume that my students will be confident as well. They must be confident they can learn. Learning is a process. All processes take time. Success, though, is simple - it takes CONFIDENCE! 

Enjoy the journey!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Casual Flowers - Changing My Brush Calligraphy

I receive a lot of emails, messages, and comments asking me, "How do you paint such casual flowers?" "How do you get such a soft look to your flowers?" I have to tell you, as a long-time stroke artist, I'm, of course, flattered by the mere asking of such questions. Me - "DeAnn Meely" and the adjective "casual" - wow! I've worked hard to achieve a more casual calligraphy. I had to make changes to help my brain, my subconsciously trained inner stroke-artist, relax - I had to reprogram my innate artist. I had to trick it into allowing me to achieve a different look, if you will.

First, I changed my brush. I switched from a filbert to a flat; not just any flat, a LARGE flat (I'm talking #10 to 3/4"). Second, I changed my grip. I held my brush overhanded instead of like a pencil from start to finish. (Try pulling that most perfect comma or reverse teardrop in the overhand position!) Third, I took my teacher/mentor's advice and set a timer. I challenged myself to paint a casual rose in 15 minutes (instead of an hour). I kept reducing my time little by little each day down to the five minute mark. Wow, what a difference it made.

Looking back though, I think the most pivotal moment came when I painted a rose from start to finish with my fingers, no brush. (I might have cheated just a bit finding some of my lost edges with touches of white at the end.) Wow! Give it a try. Let me know how it works.

Right now, I am casual. Can you be too casual? I hope not! I'm always looking to change, to improve, to redefine my brush just a bit. It keeps my painting interesting. It keeps me interested in painting. It keeps me growing as an artist. It makes me a better teacher. It fuels my passion for what I do!

In this fall's seminars at my studio and as I travel teach, we will be focusing on a more casual approach. We will learn how to "reprogram our brains." I can not wait to share these techniques, tricks, and tidbits to help you find your inner, more casual artist. I hope to see some of you in my classes along the way. (My seminar schedule can be viewed at along with sign-up information).

I'm also looking forward to sharing my large brush casual roses on my You Tube channel set to launch in the very near future.

Enjoy the Journey!