Art Myth


I don’t often rant publicly, mainly because I’m worried that I’ll regret it in the morning. However, I think I’ll be relatively safe with this one… (famous last words… <snort>).

I REALLY want to bust a myth – I NEED to bust this myth actually!

The myth is this: “Art just comes naturally to some people.” or rephrased; “Art doesn’t require thought – it just happens without effort and simply flows off the artist’s fingertips.”


I’ve encountered this myth – in person – a fair amount lately and I’ll admit that it burns me a little. It is ignorant, uninformed and disrespectful. And if this myth in anyway conveys your own personal preconceptions of what an artist is and does, then I beg you to reconsider.

I understand that from the outside looking in some things can look effortless, kinda like all those figure skaters at the Olympics. πŸ˜‰ However, it has taken me more than twenty years of practice, schooling, effort and hard work to reach a moderately acceptable aesthetic level as a visual artist. And I must also assert that art, by far, takes more original thought, concentration, and energy than any other job I have ever done… believe it or not!

Either that or I’m not nearly as “natural” as others…<shrug>.

Rant done. πŸ™‚



Thus far, experience has taught me that art commissions are my bread and butter. I don’t say this in a negative way – commissions challenge me. It was much the same when I attended University and obtained my Fine Arts degree – we were pushed to create beyond ourselves and this helped me to grow.

I was excited about this commission here because the photo that my client gave me to work with was so beautiful. Small

The scene pictured here is in Hania, Crete – my client’s homeland. I knew that the challenge in this piece wouldn’t be the mountains or the water but in fact, the buildings. I have painted very little architecture and so I was a nervous. Ah, let’s be honest, I’m always nervous doing commission pieces. πŸ™‚


Normally I begin with a pencil sketch but I skipped it this time because I felt super confident in the photograph. Instead, I started directly with the painted sketch on my canvas.


My client mentioned that he would like the mountains to be a prominent feature in the painting and so I began there.


I paint in layers and sections – putting on my base colour first and then working details over top. Since my canvases are normally quite large I find that this process of dividing and layering helps me feel less overwhelmed.Small_0004



My dining room serves as my studio. It has lots of space and most importantly – LIGHT!Small_0007

EEP! Heading into the architecture… I did a lot of layers on the buildings before I was content with how they looked. Small_0008



I laid down my base colours for the sky and the water before adding the details. The canvas was big and I felt intimidated by all of the work to be done in these areas – so I put on the basics and then gave myself a couple days of rest before I tackled them. Small_0011



I had my hubby take this shot of me painting – I thought that it would give a good impression of how large this canvas really is. Small_0015

Title: ‘Homeland’ – acrylic on canvas – 4′ x 3′. You can click on the finished painting above to see an enlarged version. πŸ™‚

In the end I’m super happy with it but colour always puts me in a happy place.

~ Micheline