light bulb, light bulb moment, artist, what every artist should knowThis week a light bulb went off!  Not at home, but in my head.  I learned about what every artist should do and I think you should know too.  It’s actually something I’ve known all along but that little devil on my shoulder kept talking me out of it.  And here it is:

You should paint what you like painting!  That’s it.  Paint what you love. Draw what you love.

As an artist, I’ve done it all.  I’ve painted landscapes, seascapes, still life paintings, abstracts, animals, people, cityscapes and more.  Some I’ve loved and some I haven’t.  Some were created because I thought they would be what the public would like to buy, and some were painted because that’s what others said I should be painting.  But to be honest, the love did not show in those paintings.  They were lacking “life”.  There was something wrong with the colours, the brushstrokes, movement and balance.  They looked tired and frankly quite “boring”.  And now I know why.  I was only half-hearted when I painted them.

I know a number of artists who paint Perth landscapes simply because Perth people are more likely to buy something that reminds them of where they live, but really, if you’re doing it to sell rather than because it’s something you’re passionate about regardless of if it sells, then it will show in your work.  It will look dull and the whole painting will be missing that certain “spark”.  But if you paint your favourite subject, whether it’s your grandmother’s garden, or baby antelopes, or even rusty train tracks, then you will enjoy every second of it.  You will get lost in the moment and will relish every single brush stroke.  And people will notice it. They will be drawn to the energy, the passion, and the love that you’ve put into it.  And the sales will come too.  You’ll see.  Now how about letting that light bulb flash in your head too.  Think about what you really love painting or drawing.  And do more of it.  Lots and lots.  Put all your love, energy and passion into it, and the rest will come.  You’ll see.


  • Lee Calley

    Love your Newsletters Renata, always thought provoking.

    November 28, 2016
    • Ann Beety

      Hi Renata. I totally agree with you. I has my light bulb moment two terms ago. I was seriously considering giving up my water colour painting as I was never happy with what I did. Then you suggested us doing our own thing and I chose a theme of animals and I have enjoyed everything I have done since. I still get some that don’t turn out quite right and perhaps sometimes they do not look like the “true water colours” but I love trying to make my animals look as lifelike as possible and am now eager to carry on. So thank you for turning the light on.

      Ann x

      November 28, 2016
  • I read your newsletter, too, Renata, and love all your paintings on FB. Absolutely agree with painting what you love – I figured that out a while ago – so my style of art isn’t ‘trendy’ at the moment, but it will come around again. Meanwhile, I just keep on painting and loving what I do. Too boring to paint for ‘the masses’!!!!!

    November 28, 2016
  • Cathy Cummins

    Great Renata, I think your Light Bulb has definitely sparked a fuse which will hopefully lead to a big explosion in art work straight from the heart in people everywhere. Thank you x

    November 29, 2016
  • Lidia

    Bing ! … my light bulb has just turned on. You’re right…. I should just start painting shoes, shoes, millions of shoes. Thanks a million for the great advice, Renata !

    January 28, 2017
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