Friday, 18 February 2011

The Great Scheme of Things and Artistic Ambitions

When I was 20, I decided to learn Ballroom and Latin American dance.
I remember clearly the first exam, taken at bronze level. Looking over at the seniors on the opposite side of the practice room and wondering if I'd ever be that good.

A few years later, I am taking another exam, first star, and I am at the far end of the practice room from the beginners. Practising before being called upstairs and joking around with one of the men, confident enough to play silly fools.  When I stopped practising and sat down, I saw a beginner on the other side look at me in a way I recognised. Would she ever be that good? That's when it struck me how far I'd come, but still there was lots to learn.

Art is a bit like that too.
I started off learning because I wanted to. Complimented recently on my art work, I look back and can see the improvement.

Art though, has so many varied facets, it would be difficult to be proficient at all of them in one lifetime.  I follow blogs when people paint in oils, use graphite, use photoshop, scratch board, and some who are very loose and some so photo realistic you'd think you could touch the subject.  In those arenas I would be a mere beginner - there is lots to learn.
In the great scheme of things, everything is relative - and it keeps your feet on the ground!  I would like to thank all my artist friends for that.

Like my dancers, we all have three things in common,
a love of art, a willingness to learn and we go at our art "affettuoso"  - with feeling!

Now, all the time I've been painting and learning, I've had one artistic ambition.
Not letters after my name, just a desire to paint one painting.
I've always wanted to paint a picture of the crucified Christ, but never thought I was good enough to do Him justice.
But , with the encouragement of my painting friends on my recent portraits ringing in my ears,  I've given it a go. Next week, I'm going to post all the stages and then the finished painting.

So how about you? Do you have an artistic ambition?


  1. Hi Pat, thanks for your comment.
    I was just admiring your roses, really beautiful!
    I wish you very good luck with painting Christ! Wow, very brave. I'm looking forward to seeing all the stages!

  2. I am so looking forward to seeing that painting... Bravo to you for even attempting it. (I am still trying to get up the nerve to write what I have learned about His mother...)

    You are so right, Pat, about how if we just keep plugging along at something we love...suddenly (!) we realize how far we've come! I like how people are often labeled "overnight success!" Most don't realize how that "overnight" was often 20 or 30 years long!
    Have a lovely weekend!

  3. There is no doubt you are improving week by week and this is really evident in your blog. When I look back on my own blog I can also see that I have improved. I have stopped judging my art against other peoples and instead I judge it against my own previous work.
    This flower is really gorgeous and I'm sure your new painting will be just perfect :0)

  4. Thanks, Judy. Sometimes, I think we have to be brave or we stand still....

  5. Thanks Ann.. I hope you enjoy next week.. its taken me just the fourteen years to come so far.. :) :)

  6. Thank you Sandra .
    I think having the blog pushed me to improve quicker than I would otherwise.
    Judging your own work against others - that way lies madness! You're right not to do it!

  7. Pat, ballroom dancing? What fun! You seem so brave to me in your painting, no fear. That's what I love best about your blog and your painting. You have such confidence! This flower in the glass is wonderful and I can't wait to see your painting for next week, I have complete confidence in your ability and courage.
    As for me I think my biggest ambition with a paint brush....would be confidence and courage behind that brush!

  8. Lovely rose and vase. Pat.
    Yes you have improved so much since I have been following you. I feel the same and it's all about practice practice practice.You have come a long way Pat and I look forward to seeing your new project.

  9. Pat, reading your post was a fabulous and inspirational way to start my day! Thank you.
    I am looking forward to seeing "this" painting develop next week - you are now ready and at the far side of the artistic room, believe me!

  10. Thanks, Maria :)
    Ballroom dancing is great fun at the amateur level - I believe it gets very competitive at pro level!
    Confidence in art comes with practice, I think - same as dancing. Suddenly you look back and the other side of the room is miles away ;)

  11. Thanks, Dors.
    That's what I think too - practice has a huge hand in art. Some talent, a willingness to try and lots of practice :) xx

  12. Thank you Christiane, glad you enjoyed the post!
    I'm only the other side of one room, though - plenty more to walk through :) xx

  13. Pat, what a wonderful and inspiring post. Love that painting too. You rock!

  14. Hi Pat. Love your flowerts in a glas. As for artistic ambition, it continues to change with time.

  15. Just in time for Lent ... I am looking forward to seeing your painting of the Crucified Christ.

  16. I just love the painting of the flower in this post. Just beautiful. Cannot wait to see your new one.

  17. This was a very inspiring post! I feel to be just a step out of the beginners side. Not even 1/4 of the way to the other side. But, since knowing you, I have become inspired to really learn. Yes! IT IS YOU that inspired me to do that.

    I am now trying new things and designs and taking time to really do a good job.

    I look forward to your posts next week!

  18. Your pictures all show such high quality Pat, a true indication of how much you enjoy your hobby.
    The roses are beautiful.

  19. Hi Pat, I agree with Sandra, to me you are improving every day and this beautiful watercolor clearly proved this. Ciao!

  20. Thanks Ann.. I'm glad you found the post inspiring xx

  21. Thanks Kathryn. My focus generally changes, but this was a one I wanted to do since forever :) xx

  22. Thanks CD, hope you enjoy next week xx

  23. Thanks, Tonya. I treasure the fact I've inspired you xx

  24. Thanks, Beryl.
    I do enjoy painting such a lot.. and I'm glad to read you think my paintings are quality xx

  25. Tito, you are too kind. I bask in the compliment from you, a maestro in the art xx

  26. Beautiful picture. I'm looking forward to seeing the progress of your work on the next piece.

  27. Thanks, Ann. fingers crossed you like it xx

  28. Willow - didn't mean to miss you.. glad you like the flower. I really hope you enjoy next week's painting. xx

  29. Pat-
    Love your post, makes us all think! Love your flower, too (rose or camelia?).
    I am really looking forward to next week's steps!

  30. Dear Pat
    Ballroom dancing.. I was just thinking about that the other day.. Something I have always wanted to learn..

    Thank you so much for your visit and kind words about Feathered Fantasy.. Sometimes I just need to get the whimsy out.. I still have so much to learn in this beautiful world of art, but I have realized over the years to paint what my heart wants, then everything falls into place.

    I am really looking forward to seeing your painting of Christ.. I know at times we are hesitant, but if it is in your heart, it will flow... I know this piece will be beautiful.. I will watch for your post..
    Enjoy your weekend

  31. How right you are! Art and is appreciation is truly relative. Even the ability to understand the feeling or thought behind a painting, sketch or photograph is relative.
    I enjoy following your 'steps to the final thing' posts.
    Can't wait to follow your ambitious project.

    I had taken a 5 year course in fine arts back in college. Water colours and pencil are my favourite and i have always cherished a secret wish to some day to something really worthwhile.
    These days I hardly get the time. I just dabble here and there and at present have at least 3 unfinished watercolours!!
    This post has encouraged me to post about it. Maybe I will do it soon. I would truly love to hear your opinion.

  32. Thanks Sheryl! Bit of thinking every now and then never hurt anyone ;) xx

  33. Thanks Penny - I hope you enjoy next week's posts :) xx

  34. Aksharaa - thank you. I find everything in art is relative.. there's not really a measuring to be done.
    A 5 year course in Fine Art .. oh lucky you! I know you are doing such valuable work now that keeps you busy and away from art.. but the day you can come back to it will be a joyous day, for sure *hugs* xx

  35. I totally agree with you, Pat. Everything in art is so relative. I've been painting for a long time and I try not to compare my progress with others, each one has its own path, but I can see when one has a gift and I know you have it. This with flower is just wonderful! It's not an easy subject to paint, I know it. Congratulations, Pat. xx

  36. Pat, Such a beautiful painting and a wonderful, encouraging, story!!! I am happy to have become a follower of your blog.

    Hugs, Jan

  37. Oh yes, dear Pat, I have an artistic ambition. Just like you I learned the ballroom dance. And just like you I think when I see so many wonderful paintings: Will I ever be so good?
    Therefore, please paint the crucified Christ. I'm looking forward to see your work.

  38. Thank you Anamaria - you're very kind to say I have a gift. I treasure your comment xx

  39. Thank you Jan and welcome. Glad to have you here xx

  40. Thanks Elsbeth. I hope you enjoy next week.. and you are good already :) xx

  41. Hi Pat. I loved your story and it has caused me to reflect deeply just now. You painted a beautiful picture with words, much like a poet might do.

    I could see the dancers and the room quite clearly. The comparison with our art journey is moving. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so glad i stopped by.

    Do you live in Scotland? I had posted a painting of "Pittenweem" which may be close to you. I have not done any animals yet in the same style but it is a thought for sure.

    Happy painting Pat. Your flower is most beautiful and i am looking forward to your painting of Christ. Blessings always. Ross

  42. Pat, I love this painting. You did a great job on the flowers. The one just pops! You also did a great job on painting glass - not so easy to do in my opinion!

    Go for it on your artistic ambition!

    Ballroom and Latin dancing - woohoo! I'm too much of a chicken to even try!

  43. Thank you Ross.
    I'm glad you could see the connection.. I was worried people would think I was rambling!
    Scotland is the other end of the country to me, but I saw your painting and I love it!
    Hope you enjoy the painting next week. xx

  44. Thanks, Candy!
    Nothing to be scared about with ballroom dancing - many of us had chicken legs :lolol:

  45. yes pat!
    great post. i would like to be a better photographer. i mean way better. it will never end as long as i can shoot. i know what you are talking about when you look back with surprise seeing how far you have come. but i am in competition with myself. i am not trying to be better than anybody but myself. this was a cool post.
    nikonsniper steve

  46. Thanks Steve.. every now and then I like to post a "thoughtful" post.. and looking at all the other artists made me realise that its only your own self you can ever improve upon. xx

  47. Hello Pat. I think that the point is to not to give up. Like in that wise sentence I've heard many years ago: "Never loose your destination just because that you're currently away in time from it.
    The time runs, despite everything."

    And yes, I have a little artistic ambition too: I would like to say every New Year, looking at my paintings: "OK, you didn't waste the time".

    Regards! :)

  48. Oh, please forgive me, I forgot to write - beautiful flowers, so plenty of light nad delicate... Lovely!

  49. Thanks Akw xx You know even with ones that go wrong, I don't think we waste our time - we are still learning :) Glad you liked the flowers xx

  50. Excellent!, I love it.



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