Friday, October 16, 2009

Angela Fehr: BC Artist. Why Artists Want to Paint Loosely

Watercolour: Silent Beauty by Angela Fehr.

"I'm thinking that non-artists must wonder what artists are talking about when we strive for looseness in painting. I'm right in thinking this isn't just a watercolorist's goal, aren't I? What's that saying about holding precious things loosely? I'm sure there's a lifestyle quote along those lines...anyhow, just like that single friend of mine who never gets a date because she tries too hard, in art when you choke up on the brush and paint with gritted teeth, aiming for perfection, you squash creativity and kill a painting.

I'm not knocking realism in painting - I love realistic detail. But the best realism is painted with a gentle hand, and frequently isn't truly realistic - when you get up close you realize that your eye has been fooled into filling in detail that is only suggested by the artist's brush. Loosening up frees creativity. When I find I am painting too "tight" it is because I have become a slave to something - the reference photo, the "rules" of watercolor, the attempt to paint like someone. I admire instead of following my own path, even the desire to make a painting important - sale-worthy or competition-ready. All of these things choke out freedom and spontaneity. A few tricks I have found that encourage me to greater looseness in my work:"

Trying a new technique, medium or surface. This week's exercise in yupo has captivated me and I am freshly excited by what I can do.

Studying two (or more) very different artists. Observing artists who paint loosely in watercolour, artists who paint chunky textured abstracts and artists who have thrown out the rules and are using their medium in a new way makes me want to throw caution to the wind and try seeing and painting in a new way too.


Freeing myself not to care about the end result. Repeat after me: "This is just a sketch." When I take the pressure off of having a perfect painting outcome, I can experiment and accumulate skills and knowledge for the next big painting - or maybe my sketch will turn into my next painting sale - what matters is letting go.

Please visit Angela's Website:


  1. " Loosening up frees creativity. When I find I am painting too "tight" it is because I have become a slave to something - the reference photo, the "rules" of watercolor, the attempt to paint like someone else"....

    Thank you Angela...good thoughts my case painting cautiously was caused by the anxiety I felt over ruining a picture. And this
    fearfulness controlled my hand and spirit.

    Experience builds confidence. Fear of ruining a picture is replaced by the freedom not to worry about outcomes and to run with instinct and to do what feels right.

    So what if picture is what if a few hours worth of work are ruined...its the process that counts...and eventually, when the processs fits together, the pieces of the puzzle take care of themselves.

  2. Thank you Winston for this posting and thank you to Angela too for sharing the positive thinking in Loosing Paint...I love this style as well, I love to view the other watercolourists too but I still glue to fear of ruinning for painting it... However, Angela's words pull me the brave out. wwww Go Ahead wwwww

  3. I really needed to read this today...thank you for this and your wonderful blog really is wonderful!!!


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