Tea Leaves? In Paint? And a Doodle, Too? (Why I stopped painting & will begin again)

“In the Nursery” 2009, 1st painting by ©️Robin King

Why shouldn’t I doodle with paint? Why shouldn’t I draw with paint? Why shouldn’t I put tea leaves and glitter and thread and the “holes” from hole-punched paper in paint? Why shouldn’t I draw with paint? Why shouldn’t I push paint around with an old hair-comb? Why shouldn’t I paint on top of discarded but still decorative ribbon and deflated bubblewrap and old fabric AND ANYTHING ELSE  WANT TO?

And why – WHY??? – why shouldn’t I treat painting like the brain-fizzing fun it can be and not a jaw-clenching exercise in self-control?

The painting above is my first, ever. I did it about 12 years ago, called it “In the Nursery.”

There are old dried tea leaves, paper hole-punched pieces, and large glitter mixed in with the acrylic paint. It was basically a doodle because I started with a blank canvas and no plan at all.

In spite of the fact that it was obviously amateurish, I was proud of the painting and posted it on my original Redbubble site (now closed, replaced by this one  and this one). One member who saw it – and who knew I was new to painting – sent me a critique. It was kind but it set me off on years of trying to do things I didn’t want to do. He said (among other things) that “…one should paint with paint. Painterly strokes are what matter. Never draw with paint. Sketch with paint, yes, but only if required. Don’t contaminate paint with anything. If you can’t learn to paint whatever “effects” you desire then perhaps you shouldn’t paint. Those colors are interesting.”

I tried to take his advice. I really did, for nearly five years. But it wasn’t “me.” I could easily imagine the things I wanted to do and how to do them, so shouldn’t I just do them? I was miserable and began to hate the thought of painting. Then health and financial issues got in my way, and painting lost its importance. Life went on, as it does.

One of the reasons I started this blog again is that I’m going to paint again. I want gooey colors to come alive with my ideas.

But I don’t want to tie myself up in horrible knots again with restrictions on what I can and can’t do with paint. I won’t do it. No. 

This time, I’ll do what I want to do. I’ll push the paint around any way I want to, put it on any surface I please, mix whatever I want into it, and I’ll doodle, too, if that’s what I want to do. 

But I’ll also try to incorporate good painting habits and try – again – to take a painterly approach (once I learn exactly what that is).

So that’s it: Look out, paint! I’m back! 

13 thoughts on “Tea Leaves? In Paint? And a Doodle, Too? (Why I stopped painting & will begin again)”

  1. OMG, that is the worst “advice” I have ever heard! There are NO rules when it comes to art, just go with your flow and use what you have, use everything you have and throw it ALL at your canvas as you feel it needs to be, that’s my advice! 😉😁

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi!! I’m sorry to be so late replying, Tiffany. ….. Wow, yes! That was bad bad bad advice, but I fell for it at the time. What a dope I was. Thank you soooooo much for your wonderfully encouraging words!!! Best advice EVER!! 👏👏👏👏👏🥰👋

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi! Thank you! Well, it turned out that the person who said it was an art school grad with lots of confidence but not much art in him. I was so eager and naive that I believed him (and other people who told me similar things). I’m still repairing the damage I let that advice do. 🤗👋

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s good to play and experiment. Who knows what you might discover that works. It’s also so subjective. Good technique doesn’t necessarily make a good painting / artwork. You put something of yourself into your work which makes it unique, not just a paint by numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

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