Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Flows Like Water

I'm sure many of my artist friends would agree when I say that ideas and emotions often come along side by side in creating art. To me personally, sometimes the process seems like such a blur that there are times when I can't even see or hear anything but the idea itself forming in my head. In this particular moment, it's hard to doubt or argue with myself... if I should do this instead of that, if I should use this color or any other... Everything just flows, like water. Of course, because of this, I make a pretty lousy critic for my own work, seeing that most of them are created based on my personal thoughts and emotions.

It's funny that this musing was actually triggered by a simple question my six year old daughter asked me.  She wanted to know why the people in my work always look so sad... Now what would you say to that? Let alone explain it to a child? Because honestly, I have absolutely no idea. Do I simply enjoy it or is there something more? Is it something I think about constantly? Could there be sadness buried inside? Well, I decided that trying to find out would be a very exhausting process. So cowardly as I was, I suggested truce to my little critic and offered her to do a 'happy' drawing instead.

This, was what I came up with. And her comment was?

"She looks nice, but how come the clown looks so sad?"

... *SIGH*... So much for a 'happy' drawing, huh?


  1. The girl looks as though she's trying to smile rather than being jolly. Or maybe that's just my personal take on it as I'm feeling quite low at the moment? I'm in the process of trying to paint a face that looks serene and happy but I've painted over and over it without success. From experience I know that when I'm feeling the same as the face I'm painting, it flows. I don't mean that you might be feeling sad because of your drawing, perhaps you are a thoughtful and dreamy sort of person? The face I'm drawing at the moment just looks tired! ;o)xx

  2. Oh...and I meant to say it's a beautiful painting of yours! I love her eyes.xx

  3. Amalia my dear, you are such and old, old soul. It is so true that the line between art and emotions is blurred often. Children are so wise aren't they! Sometimes things just 'are' and there is no answer or reason whether we like it or not. But sad or happy, there's no question your art is just gorgeous! The great thing too, is that whether the artist has a message or not in her work, the viewer can interpret their own story, that's what makes it so rich. This little girl looks so content. Your style as always is so well rendered and I always come away from your work feeling peaceful, never sad! xoxox Susan

  4.'re so right, Jessie! I think it's because I was 'making' her to smile... Can't really force myself to draw something I don't feel like drawing, can I? And I hope your mood picks up soon, that's one thing I'm oh-so very familiar with! ;)

    Susan, you are SO good of saying these things! I always end up nodding along as I read your comments..haha! So thank you for the kind words, my wise friend. (^+^) xx

  5. I always think of your work as poetic and dreamy, it never occurred to me to think of sad. As I remember, many of your portraits were very happy-- why can't I figure out how I found them to look at them again? I've gone loony-- but your work is very deep, and I do love that flowy state where art just happens!!

    And this little beauty with the amber eyes-- is she your daughter?

  6. Oh Baby! I know the feeling. Now that I read your post you made me take stock of my work. Egads! I am in deep doodoo! My drawings, the people in my drawings are not laughing. They are so serious, except the birthday girls and even that they are neutral. Yet the feelings I have when I draw are all so happy. Do you know that sometimes I cry during my drawing sessions. When I drew the recent Bamboo Grove drawing I cried, no, I wept. I remember how wonderful my Mother was and how hard life was for her when she was young that I wanted to have her back and pamper her. Anyway, I am always happy when I draw even if I cry. I was telling Bella one day that when I draw I feel like a child, I really feel very young. On the other hand when I paint I feel so ancient! I am not sad but I can hardly catch my breath my chest and throat tightens sometimes. When I think of someone I love when I paint, I am so incapacitated by my feelings that I sometimes just sit in front of the easel and think, think and feel. That is why I paint at night so no one will see me cry, but I am happy even though I cry and I dance. I dance in front of my easel like serious dancing, chahcha, rhumba, that I am not embarassed to be seen. I dance in front of my children and husband.

    Why am I telling you all of these? Because most of the time my emotions do not match the facial expressions of my subjects. They do not smile but I am a happy person because I cannot paint when I am sad or unhappy. So why force yourself to draw happy faces unless you are illustrating a book and the subject is laughing? That is why we like other people's art because they convey the emotions that we feel but are not inclined to create because we want to be true to ourselves and drawing or painting smiling or laughing people is not our desire?

    I was always drawn to your drawings because your subjects are serious and quite frankly, I thought they were happy, it's just that they are thoughtful and introspective.

    You should keep on drawing and painting what you feel unless it's a commission. But aha! Your child commissioned you! Now make the clown smile! HAHAHAH!

  7. your artwork is just lovely. i am so happy to have found and to be following your blog. thank you for being so inspiring! best wishes to you:) xoxo, juliette

  8. I love your work, I always it find it full of emotion and perhaps see that there is a story behind each piece. I love this drawing and found it very interesting that the clown does look a bit sad but I don't think I would have picked that up had it not been for your daughter. Children can be very wise for their age can't they?

    I seem to paint happy whimsical faces, but there have been times where I've done sad ones if I have felt down....I think art can be like a diary when you look back on all the different pieces you do. Pretty amazing really.

    Love her face in this one, your faces are so gorgeous!

  9. You have to be sad to know the joy of being happy... err I read that in a book :)

    Lovely work as always

  10. Krista, you're not going loony! I did actually drew some 'happy faces' and they were commissioned. I posted them a while back when I started this blog. And this amber eyed girl is not my daughter, but if you're wondering what she looks like, the girl on my blog header was actually drew based on her (^_^)

  11. Ces, hun! I read your comment over and over again to take it all in... so much emotions first thing in the morning, but I LOVE it!! Art is such a personal thing and I'm sure it's like second nature to people like us. Believe me, I have shed a few tears while drawing or painting myself, especially when something just struck my mind or my heart in an uncomfortable way. Somehow it's like a time machine that can carry me anywhere, anytime I want to be!

    I suppose we're lucky to have art as a two-way door.. Thank you SO much for sharing your thoughts, it means a lot to me. (^+^) oxx

  12. First of all this is AMAZING!! You have a dream like quality to your work that puts us into this deep magical glare. It really takes you back to your childhood looking at it. Beautiful, but I'm gonna tell you why the dang clown is so sad. He has had it hard. Really hard. Candy and cookie crumbs all over his beautiful clown suit. His nose has been glued on a few times no doubt. Left in the cold car with no blanket and thrown into the toy bin when she got that new stinkin' Brats doll. Then when her little friend stood her up for the date, she pulled him out and wanted to tell him allllllllll about it. He's not even trying to hear it, but the look on his face. I'm with him. I don't care how cute she is and she is very cute. Poor mr. clown. he he he he he he

  13. Nicola.. I totally agree with you! Children are so much brighter and perceptive these days... sometimes they just leave us out of words! :)

    V!!! I can always count on you for a chuckle! You know, I guess you're right... Mr. Clown must've had it really hard - after all, girls can be such a handful! Thee hehehe... (^O^)

  14. Dear Amalia, do you know why your little daughter had asked you such a question? (A big kiss for her!) Here’s what I think…In my opinion happiness is the natural state of children and shows their general perception of the world. They express and give out joy and expect the same attitude to them, around them… And, impressed, when they don’t see it, ask “why”. Even if the child has a hard life, just notice that he or she is always “ready” to smile, to laugh, to hug…! I think that we, the adults, are somehow suspicious to the smiles and reserved to the joy around…
    I like all your personages! Yes, there’s some kind of melancholy and maybe even sadness in their faces, but I am not the person to analyse why it is so… I simply love your style! You make me feel and think…
    The drawing is wonderful! Maybe the girl and the clown are in harmony – each one giving to the other what he needs or lacks. It’s good to know that there’s someone who cares for you and is ready to soothe you, isn’t it? Do you think that the clown would have been smiling if the girl was sad?!… (Please, excuse my grammar mistakes, it would be much more easier to express my thoughts in Bulgarian, of course!)

  15. Hahahahahaha! Oh, Amalia! Your little girl cracks me up. Yes, pretty interesting that you chose a sad clown...hmmmmm.... But let us not analyze that.

    She is really stunning, Amalia! That is a beautiful, beautiful smile, one that originates from a deep sense of contentment and peace. The colors here are really WOW! I love the green against the red against the yellow and purple. It really pops! And you are the queen of rendering beautiful, graceful, gorgeous hair.

    I never thought of your drawings as sad. Introspective, perhaps. Dreamy, yes I'd agree with that. But not sad.


  16. I get that too, about the sad paintings. I think it might be because I don't like to paint teeth. LOL.

  17. OH, Amalia..what a wonderful illustration and post. I LOVE that your little one said that in the end....spoken like a sweet innocent 6 year old. It made me's something my daughter would say to me. I don't think you're cowardly at all...I find that the process, if it flows like you've described, is one of those awesome things that we artists feel hopefully more times that not, that would be similar to a sports person hitting a homerun, or a scientist discovering something. It's that cool, isn't it? I love that the process is so enjoyable and then the final result is something we all can enjoy, discover, and ponder. I find that I have a similar thing going on with my work - in that I do enjoy a "sadness" to my characters. My kids ask the same, why so sad? and I just think it's something beautiful to see as well as a sweet happy creation. Well, my friend, you've created another stunner...she is lovely. Always great to see your beautiful work!

  18. Your work is gorgeous! I think everything we create comes from deep within and for me it's connected to my emotions and experiences. I think all art is this way whether the artist is aware of it or not.

  19. Ah...Rossichka, my wise friend (^_^). I always wait for your comment with much anticipation!

    Bella deary, you're a puff of cotton candy as always, thanks for your sweet comment oxx

    Shirley, you know I agree with you? After that 'flow' cease, something wonderful always follows... Definitely like hitting a homerun but in a peaceful way for me...hahaha!

    And thank you everybody else for your kind, kind responses... ((hugs))

  20. I think most kids around that age tend to perceive any other expressions than smile as sadness.
    When I see your illustration, I sense calmness and dreamy. A bit mellow at times, but they definitely look calm.

    Lovely work as always:)

  21. haha ! I love this story!! kids are a crack up! this little girl is soooo beautiful! I'm amazed at your exquisite rendering.. her hair and dress!.. even the wall and the shadows from the chair are beautiful!
    yes the clown does look sad.. but I think they look a little creepy when they smile! Plus .. you could tell her that the clown looks sad to make the girl look even happier?? hehe.. oh well it's gorgeous .. of yes we love it when the art 'flows like water' .. bliss

  22. hai teh, ini cantik sekali! maaf yah baru OL lagi, dari kemaren monitor rusak harus digebrak jadi beli baru.
    Cuman ko ada yg aneh deh.
    kalo disitu kamu settingan monitornya standar ato foto ato game ato movie ato apa?
    ko yg ini jadi ngejreng banget yah warnanya?
    ini warna background kamu grey-blue gitu bukan?
    ato biru aga ngejreng????
    trus begron gambar aku yg trahir munculnya warna terakota gitu ato oranye ngejreng?

    yg sekarang tuh aku set monitornya ke "foto" jadi semuanya pada ngejreng....
    salah apa ya?
    kalo aku set "standar" sih biasa aja warnanya normal2 aja.
    cuman aku penasaran aja ama yg muncul di komputer orang...

    tau deh kapan aku ke jakarta lagi, lagian si bunny belom libur panjang lagih.

  23. Amailia, how are you? I have an award for you!

  24. Amalia, heeheeheeheehee! Love your root comment - you are just toooo punny!


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  26. Hi Amalia,
    I find it difficult to paint happy faces too. Now you have mentioned it... You have made me look closely at my characters faces. I tend to draw half smiles or pirate smiles.;)
    Being creative is an emotional process and sometimes you can feel like you are in some kind of a dream state, when you are painting. I call it, getting lost in my creative dream world.
    Your new drawing is lovely. The little girl seems to have, sad and happy eyes. A beautiful facial expression. She looks quite shy!;)
    Thank you for sharing your new work. Lovely to see you again.

  27. Yes the facial expressions r awesome :)

  28. Thanks Helen, you're so sweet...

    Ah, you're right, Heidi! 'Mellow' is my middle name...thee hehehe...

    Oh yes, Jo! I agree with you totally about being in a 'dream state'... sometimes I even get carried away that my family would say I'm off to another world (not such a good thing to them, I guess)

  29. lovely technique and composition. what a lovely find your blog is. thanks for sharing.

  30. Your work is just gorgeous Amelia!

  31. Hello! Your art work is just so beautiful, magical..! Thank you for the comments about my work..I feel like I'm just peeking out at the world at the moment not daring to step out..and lovely comments always make it seem less scary! Happy Tuesday :-)

  32. Oh and my dreams are made of sparkles and rabbits,horses and ribbons, sun rises and bright stars...with the smell of the sea mixed in!


Tell me your lovely daydreams, they always make me smile! ♥