Because I Paint with Intuition, I Paint More Than Rosebuds


Old Blush Pink Rose – Jacki Kellum Watercolor at Fine Art America

When I am painting, I consider it a great day when something within myself takes over and essentially completes my project for me. This gentle urging is intuition. Michelangelo spoke about the importance of intuition in his work when he said: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo

Because I Paint with Intuition, I am able to paint more than rosebuds

Janis Joplin – Jacki Kellum Watercolor – Prints Available at Fine Art America

People say that they like the bravery that I exhibit in my watercolor paintings. The reality is that a team does my best paintings, and I am not the brave part of my team. My intuition is. When I am having a good painting day, an inward force literally takes control of my hand and urges it to dip into a little more of this color or that and to slash it here or there. It is called painting with bravura. The word “bravura” must have something to do with the word “bravery.” I suppose that my art does have a great deal to do with bravery.

The Last Rose of Summer – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

Detail of Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting The Last Rose of Summer

In the detail above of my painting The Last Rose of Summer, you can see the colored pencil marks where I had sketched the rose before I began to paint. If bravery is involved in my painting process, it is the bravery NOT to be enslaved by my initial plan. In many cases, it is fear that forces most people to strive too much for realism in their painting, and as they fuss with their work, trying to become more real, they lose the vitality of their expression.

Fear is the worst thing that can happen to anyone who hopes to create.

Rooster – Little Napoleon – Jacki Kellum Watercolor at Fine Art America

Fear prevents the painter from painting, or it forces him to edit himself literally to death.

 Barbara de Angelis wrote an excellent treatise on Fear.

“Imagine that you had a person in your life who followed you around twenty-four hours a day, filling you with anxiety, destroying your confidence, and discouraging you from doing the things that you wanted to do. Every time you were about to make a change or take a risk, the person would say, ‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you. What if you fail? What if you get hurt? All kinds of things might happen if you go in that direction.’ Imagine that before each conversation you had with friends, family, or loved ones, the person would pull you aside and caution you. ‘If you open up, you might get rejected. Watch what you say! Don’t trust anyone! . . . ” Barbara De Angelis

Night Lily – Jacki Kellum Watercolor at Fine Art America 

Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night.

“It’s your fear. Fear is like an emotional roommate that lives with you day and night. It talks to you, manipulates you, and tries to convince you to avoid doing or expressing anything that may cause you any kind of discomfort or involve any sort of risk. It says, ‘You can’t’ . . . and ‘You shouldn’t.,’ and it eats away at your confidence and your self-esteem. It tells you not to act, not to reach out, not to try, not to trust, not to move. It steals the life right out from under you. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

Sunflower with Blues – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting at Fine Art America

Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness.

“Fear is one of your most powerful inner enemies. It is a force that can sabotage your happiness. How does fear do that? It keeps you stuck in what’s not working. It prevents you from growing. It keeps separation between you and other people. It talks you out of your dreams. It keeps you stagnant, frozen, unable to become all you were meant to be. . . .” Barbara De Angelis

“It is fear that keeps us standing on the cliff when we know that we need to leap to the other side. But fear does more than just hold you back–it steals your aliveness, your passion, your freedom by shutting down your heart. . . .The extent to which you allow fear to control your life is the extent to which you are living as a prisoner.

I read De Angelis’s book 25 years ago, and it is undoubtedly the most inspirational of any self-help book that I have ever read.  Although the book is supposedly for women, I feel that the passages about Fear are appropriate for most artists and writers. Fear is one of a creative’s most crippling forces.

After years of being muted by my own fear, I finally gained enough stamina to simply override my restraints and to create in spite of my fear. But getting to this point was a long and uphill climb.

Detail 2 of Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting The Last Rose of Summer

Watercolor has a mind of its own, and I have learned to allow my colors to do a dance of their own. To be perfectly honest, I often prefer the colors that spring from my art more than I like the subject matter of the painting. When I was in college, I trained as an abstract painter, and I love the abstract lines and shapes that emerge when I allow my watercolors to ebb and flow.

In another post, I wrote that Painting Has the Power to Heal 

The healing that takes place in painting comes through mindfulness. When I am painting, I focus on my subject matter and on the interminglings and movement of color on my paper. As I merge into my work, the rest of the world becomes a distant shadow for me. This is the point when the intuition begins to take over and when the healing begins.

In another post, I discuss the importance of the titles that I give my paintings:

Here is the best scoop about titling my work: I never give a painting a title, until it is complete and I step back and wonder what it actually means. Until that time, I am often puzzled myself. As I said in the other blog post, if a painting never means anything to me, I toss it. I consider it an empty piece of fluff.

For instance, when I painted The Last Rose of Summer, I began by simply aiming toward painting a red rose bud.

When I had finished the Last Rose painting, I noticed the brilliant autumnal hues that had created themselves on my paper, and I realized that the painting had a bit of an autumnal feeling to me. I had recently heard the haunting song The Last Rose of Summer, and I realized that I had painted more than a rose bud.

At the age of almost 68, I have returned to painting, and I am fully aware of all of the many ways, that I myself am in the Last Rose of Summer in my life. Perhaps that is why I am painting now with everythng that I have left.