Paint What You Feel and Not What You Think People Want You to Paint

Don’t Paint to be Liked – Paint Honestly – Don’t Ride the Fence with Your Painting

I’ll be honest in saying that I want people to like my paintings, and because of that, I am often tempted to over-work an image–to make it seem more real–hoping that more people will like what I have done. Fortunately, however, I have decided that I would not be the kind of person who continually rides the fence–hoping to please a wider audience. Fence Riders compromise on every issue. They seem to have no real opinions. People without opinions are like piles of mashed potatoes.  Mashed-Potato-People have had the life boiled and whipped completely out of themselves, and they tend to ride the fence on every issue.

Life is not lived on the fence. We must have opinions.  We must take a stand in life.  In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated from the faceless mob. The only way to be meaningful in life is to let your life mean–to let it actually stand–to let it stand out, and to let it stand for something.

  1. In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated.
  2. In taking stands in life, we do more than exist–we mean.
  3. The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean.

When we begin to take a stand in life, there will people who absolutely hate us for our opinions, but in being real about who we are and about what we believe, we offer other people something real and tangible to love–we offer people an authentic mind, words and images with meaning, and an ability to let people know why and how we care.

I often tell people that they will either like my art or they won’t. My paintings are bold and loose, and they are often a bit obscure. They challenge a viewer to either like them or not, but I don’t want people to be neutral about my art. When that happens, I am probably making mashed potato paintings.

Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides. – Margaret Thatcher

If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.– Margaret Thatcher

Herein lies the key: If you try to please all of the people all of the time, you have elected to stand for nothing concrete. To stand for something is to get off the fence and to get out of the middle of the road.

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” –  Abraham Lincoln

Zebra Gets A Ride – The Ocean City New Jersey Boardwalk Carousel
Jacki Kellum Watercolor

I painted Zebra Gets A Ride very loosely. I literally allowed the paint to drip down the right edge of the zebra’s body. I allowed my intuition to kick in, and I invited the painting to paint itself. That is a bit scary, but fear is one of the worst deterrents to the creation of art.

Fear Will Steal Your Aliveness: Saddle Up Anyway

I try to paint almost every day. I like some of my own paintings better than others. I have ceased treating painting as a precious activity that I should overly control. I simply paint and place the paintings on a shelf. Time will ultimately determine the fate of most of my paintings. I am not the artist. I am simply the vessel through which the art pours. Art is simply my way of life.

There Are Many Reasons to Paint. Perhaps the Most Important Reason Is That through Painting, We Discover That We Are Our Own Best Companions.

When you paint, remember these things:  

  1. You are not painting to be liked by the web or by anyone else. You are painting to be liked by yourself–to learn to live with yourself.  
  2. Spend time with yourself–and Hear Yourself Think.  And then paint what you are thinking. 
  3. Learn to See.
  4. Look into your mind’s eyes and see the images that best exemplify your thoughts,
  5. Allow Your Intuition to Paint What You See–Through You.
  6. Simply Allow the Rest of the Chips to Fall Where They May.

“I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.” – Gilbert Keith Chesterton

7. Enjoy the Ride.