Learn from Michelle

Let Your Soul Shine

"If I were called upon to define briefly the word Art, I should call it the reproduction of what the senses perceive in nature, seen through the veil of the soul." -Paul Cezanne
What a beautiful sentiment and oh so accurate!
When your heart and soul are in it, people can tell. They show up in each brushstroke, and even if everything isn't just how you want it from a technical standpoint, you can still blow away your viewers and clients with your heart and soul.
This is something I, unfortunately, can't teach in Beyond the Brushes. However, I can give you advice to make even the hardest commissions or undertakings demonstrate your heart and soul.
Are you ready for the secret?
Read carefully now. 👀
The grand secret is...
[drum roll please] 🥁🥁🥁
Know the story! 📖
I've beaten this concept like the proverbial dead horse, and there is reason behind my persistence on this.
When you can make a personal connection to a subject, your heart will be in it. As artists, we care about our work, but for our heart and soul to show up in a painting, we have to make a connection.
For instance, if you're commissioned or decide to do a memorial portrait, these often have less than ideal reference images. It is easy to get frustrated and be on the verge of throwing a fit in the studio worthy of a toddler. However, that frustration can be alleviated and it grows easier to accept the challenge when you know the story behind the picture. Ask your client or friend, "Who was this person to you?," or "Tell me about your loved one. What was his/her personality like? What were his/her hobbies? What are some of your fondest memories?"
Though this can be an emotional experience for the bereaved family and for you, it is also a healing experience that allows you to better commemorate the life lived and even provide a bit of unprofessional counseling. It will mean more than you realize and help build rapport in your relationship.
Now, sometimes the client or friend doesn't want to share, and they have every right to their privacy. In these instances, use your imagination.
Yes, I am telling you to make it all up. 🤷‍♀️
Now, it will need to be done within reason. Don't get crazy with it and make them the John Wayne of their generation when you don't even know if they owned a horse. But, you can use your imagination to help create the connection that helps your heart and soul shine through.
Hand-painted in Adobe Photoshop CC using a Wacom Intuos Pro and the Wacom Art Pen.
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