Why Artists Don’t Paint Sunsets

I know that some artists have and do paint sunsets. In fact, I’m pretty sure that all or at least most artists have attempted to paint a sunset at some time [usually early on; me included] in their career. And I don’t mean Monet’s atmospheric sunsets. I mean, standing on the beach, looking out over the water, nothing-but-sky, sunsets.

I have seen many paintings with many subjects that have been inspiring in themselves; paintings that have taken my breath away. But I have never seen a painting of an actual sunset that has inspired me to want to paint one.

So, why is it that with the mind-blowing colours and breathtaking beauty of sunsets do artists not paint them as they see them? In my opinion it is because, when they do, they look fake, phony and made-up.

But, I love sunsets; really!

This striking photo of a sunset was taken at our cottage in Sauble Beach by my son-in-law. Each evening [weather permitting] cottagers head for the beach to experience the setting sun and stay until the colours disapear from the sky. In fact, Sauble Beach is known to be one of the top places in the world to view sunsets. With that in mind, even though Sauble Beach has its share of fine artists, you will not find many paintings of sunsets at the local art shows.

Take a photo or paint like Monet.

My take on this is, if you want realism like the picture above, photography is the medium best suited for capturing its splendour. However, if you are overcome with inspiration and want to paint a sunset, I suggest you take a lesson from Monet. Create an impression of what you see. Capture what it feels like to be experiencing the wonder of a beautiful sunset.

Photo taken by Dan Lepage


The Same, But Different

 We Artists are a unique group of people. There is something different about us, while at the same time, we are just like everyone else.

All Walks of Life

Having been a Artist for 20 years, I know many Artists and have met hundreds through associations, workshops and travels. While some are  fulltime, working Artists, the majority have day jobs. The Artists I know work in a variety of proffessions. They are doctors, dentists, nurses, teachers, business proffessionals, dog groomers, art therapists and lawyers to name a few.

I even know Artists who are Artists. Meaning; photographers, writers, actors and musicians, who also love to paint or do other forms of art.

Every Stage of Life

Although as children, we all start out as artists proudly displaying our art on the refridgerator door, choosing art as an adult covers every other stage of life. Artists are young, middle-aged and older. They are working, stay-at-home parents and retirees.

The Difference?

The work of Artists can be paradoxical. As Artists we need a combination of solitude, inspiration and motivation to allow our creativity to take form. But Artists working in solitude can appear to be eccentric to others. Like the photo above, we all have our own way of working that makes sense to us, but may appear to be peuliar to non-artists.

We also crave the community of others, including Artists. Inspiration and motivation for our art, often comes from interaction, observation and communication in our daily lives. And we gravitate towards other Artists to share, to learn from and exchange ideas.

Right Brain Thinkers

We know that right brain thinking has its advantages and diadvantages, but I think if you asked, most Artists would say, that the advantages win out everytime. It gives us our ability to dream, imagine and create. For right brainers, everything is possilbe. You just have to imagine it, then bring it to life. [ie. J.K.Rowling and Harry Potter or  Michelangelo and the Statue of David or Steven Spielberg and E.T. or Bob Dylan and “Like a Rolling Stone” or….. you get my drift]. I do go on, but then I’m a right brainer too.

image: “The Artist” By~Dave M~

It’s Never Too Late

This is my first blog about being artists and the first story I am going to tell is my own. I have been an artist for more than 20 years and here are the circumstances that brought me to art. Before becoming an artist, I had always had creative yearnings. I was creative in sewing, crafts, painting furniture, doodling, writing, etc. But just about everything I did, I had to do it differently, uniquely, and if I didn’t, then it just didn’t feel right. It just wasn’t me.

As far as becoming an artist goes, I never even thought about it. I didn’t see myself as having talent. I couldn’t draw… let alone paint. When I drew pictures as a child, my mother would say, to my disappointment, “That’s nice dear. What is it?” I do remember though, how much I loved to draw and paint. There was nothing more wonderful to me than to have a big pad of newsprint and a new box of crayons. [Ahhhh, that new crayon smell…..]

In high school we had the option of taking art, vocal or instrumental music classes. Excitedly, I signed up for art right away. But, I did not get accepted. Instead I was put into the vocal music class. [I don’t know why; it’s not like I could sing!] So, for the next five years of high school, I envied the cool, art students from afar.

Then in university, I could not go into Fine Arts because I had not taken art in high school. That pretty much put any question of pursuing art to a stop for me. Besides, there were many things ahead for me in my future, right?  The only problem was, that through the years, my creative longing did not cease.

Finally, in the early 90’s, an opportunity presented itself. I was living in a small city where the local community centre was offering weekly art classes in different types of media. I thought to myself that I would like to try it out to see to if I had even a snippet of talent.

Well, that class changed my life. Not only did I have a snippet of talent, but I loved it. I really, really, loved it. For the next few years I joined art clubs and took numerous workshops from talented artists to learn how to paint. A few years later I started teaching watercolour classes and spent some time working as an Art Consultant. One of the best outcomes from my art life was gaining a large community of friends that I socialize, travel and gallery-hop with.

The point of my story is this, “It is never too late to become what you might have been.” [George Elliot]  And I am happy to point out, that many people who come to my art workshops are Boomers, who, finding that they now have time for themselves, are pursuing their passion for art.

Art has given me a life I only used to dream of. I love it, I am fulfilled by it, and this is how I came to be an artist.

What is your story? I would love to hear about it!