Several years ago, three other watercolorists and I spent a week right on the ocean in Maine. Barb had rented a wonderful old cottage for us to enjoy near a very picturesque fishing village. The deck of the cottage was about 12 feet from the edge of the ocean, and we were in a wonderfully secluded cove. Paradise!

This was the view from where I sat painting each day. Watching the tide come in and go out, watching the continuous display of beautiful skies and sunrises, as well as seeing another part of the world never fails to inspire me to paint. The rocks or boulders were worn from eons of waves hitting them, and they were still enormous.

All my life people have told me to paint what I feel, express myself, say what I want to say. Great... except I never had ANY idea what I wanted to say. If I knew, I would've said it out loud.

In Maine that summer, I finally realized that painting lets me express what I want to say in the very best way that I can express it. Painting is my voice to help me know what I'm feeling and experiencing, and often, it's while I'm painting that I get in touch with feelings that I had no idea were there.

Anyone else like that? You have no idea what you want to convey or express until you've got it down with paint on paper. Then maybe you finally know what it was you wanted to 'say.' Probably if I knew ahead of time, I would just say it out loud and not paint it.

"VACATION" Transparent Watercolor on 140#CP Arches 11 x 7" COLLECTED


Lin said...


Anonymous said...

Well said and so true!
I'm still searching for my artistic 'voice' but I know it's in there and it needs to come out.
Coincidentally, I'll be vacationing on the Maine coast next week. I'm figuring out what to take and plan to paint while the husband is entertaining the grandkid. It will be my first attempt at plein aire - thanks for the inspiration! -Janet

Dawn said...

thanks Sandy, I dont have a clue what to paint or say. Actually someone asked me last week what I liked to paint. I dont have a clue...

Sandy Maudlin said...

Thanks for commenting, ladies. One thing I usualy say now when someone asks what I like to paint is this --- I like to paint anything with edges, values changes, textures, color, etc... Leaves it all wise open for sure.

Ginny Stiles said...

One of the reasons I follow your blog is for the "gems of wisdom" and you rarely let me down. Sometimes you are "instructing" or teaching me something new like batik on rice paper or you are reminding me of the amazing possibilities in Yupo paper! I HAVE to take a workshop somehow. Mostly what I keenly watch in all your work is the wonderful drawing skills and the amazing composition. Both things I need to work work work on. But I also enjoy our eclectic choice of subject matter. I am reminded of the quote beneath the header on my blog where I quote Mary Oliver "I know the soul exists, it is built entirely of attentiveness.

shicat said...

Beyond amazing painting. I know what you are talking about, feeling and expressing emotion through painting. I suppose that is why I really hesitate to control my impulsivity.

jgr said...

Oh! It is gorgeous! Your work is amazing. Thank you for the inspiration.

June Conte- Pryor said...

Sandy , An interesting Topic you bring up .
We are always perfecting our Technique ,in order to say what we want to say in color and the brush.It is an OnGoing experience .
Otherwise we would be writers ,if the urge to paint was not so strong in some of us !.
We begin cultivating writing and reading from a Very early age ,but we don't learn to see and paint from when we are very young.In fact ,it is often lost and killed off very soon for most of us and needs to be revived for most of us who have that bent. It takes years of study and ongoing work to get back to that creative place we had resting inside us as children .
Maybe that's why We have Studios and writers don't .LOL Just kidding!!

Nick said...

Nice to see June here (wave!). You and some other great bloggers are making a lot of fascinating philosophical posts. I'm always interested in what you all have to say, and it makes me feel pretty superficial. But you've inspired me to put something more deeply personal together, for better or worse. Thanks Sandy!