Get Inspired!

  1. Jean 4 years ago

    Hello Anna! I’m glad I found your website. I want to thank you not only for all the wonderful resources that you have put together, but also for this particular post. I can definitely relate to this story. Although I want to achieve a loose painting style, I also want to learn creating realistic and detailed paintings. However, I want to do it for myself, and not because I feel pressured to change my style for others.

  2. Mary Jane Laboudy 3 years ago

    I have been painting for many years with different mediums. I used to paint loose without much detail. When I found this website I loved it! I found with art your always changing and growing there is no limit to where you go! No boundaries!

  3. Kateri Van Huystee 3 years ago

    I can really relate to this post, Anna. FIrst, lovely painting! Your ability to notice the finest details and bring them to life is what I love about your work.

    Because I am self-taught, I developed my own way of painting and drawing because I followed my instincts and my desires to depict what I saw in my mind, and in my heart when looking at my subjects. Each subject is different. Some of my paintings and drawings are not as detailed as others. But so many times people have said to me…you should do more of the looser, more expressive paintings! Or, “Eventually you will learn to be looser and more expressive.” To me, this is a very ignorant thing to say to any artist.

    I have really enjoyed learning more about your way of going about things with watercolour. It’s quite different from the way I have figured things out, and it has me thinking of different approaches for certain subjects. I think as artists we are always learning and growing. I grow each time I sit down to put an image on paper. I experiment. I try to discover new ways of making marks that are specific to each subject. And I think my body work has a fluency of my own personal style. When anyone tries to tell me what “I SHOULD” be doing, I am gracious, but I also respond, “Thank you for taking such interest in my work as an artist. I find my own way of describing with paint what is in my mind and heart.”

    Anyhow, thank you for this great post. It is validating. 🙂

  4. Delores Rhodes 3 years ago

    Hi Anna and all. I am so relieved to find your site and have signed up for your classes. This particular subject has driven me nuts for years. I went to art school late in life (my late 40s, graduating in my early 50s). I begged and pleaded with my teachers to teach me how to paint, but they wholehearted refused. They were not going to “give me a recipe” to paint, because I would then paint just like they did and I should paint in my style. I should loosen up and not worry about knowing how to paint a tree that looks like a tree and just play with the paint. Soon, their eyes began to glaze over whenever I brought up the subject. They would give me a place to paint and number of paintings to have finished by the end of term and that was it. That’s not teaching!!! Grrr!!!

    I feel like this whole loosen up stuff came from when the modern painters broke away from the French salons because they were so tired of painting in the old style (detailed, representational). Yes, that was a great change in the fashion of painting, but why should I be shackled by what’s in fashion? I want to paint the way I want to paint!

    So, I’m so pleased to have found you, Anna, and your classes. Thank you for FINALLY giving me the okay to paint the way I want to paint and to teach me how to do it. You have no idea what a relief that is.


  5. Amelia Favere 3 years ago

    I think art teachers mistake “tight” painting for “stiff” painting. I’ve been looking at some 18th and 19th century paintings lately, and the one thing that stands out from all but the masters is that they look unrealistic and a bit cartoony. They are focused on accurately portraying the roundness of the human or animal form, but don’t show true observation of the subject’s details and the rhythm of its posture. Artists today are very focused on getting an accurate depiction of a realistic human form…but for some reason art teachers can see the value in that, but not the value in doing the same for other subjects. As a person who finds the popular style of wet-in-wet, vaguely impressionist watercolors a bit silly, I am grateful to Anna for finding and teaching a way of painting that respects the subject, while eliminating the ego of the artist as a self-conscious interpreter of that form. There is no better way to study and share your knowledge of the subject than an accurate rendering. And there’s nothing more beautiful than celebrating nature in all its true beauty.

  6. Jodi Ferguson 2 years ago

    Thanks for the reminders. I recall being in first grade practicing lettering, and making small sketches, while waiting for the teacher to show up to help me. This enraged her. In the end I was told that I had limited mental capacity and that I would struggle in school. Several years later one of the schools had a free art/drawing class. I was one of the youngest. I found it boring and non-informative; which didn’t help when the teacher would often miss her own class. However, the one up was that I learned that applying different pressure to your pencil would make a difference in how flat your sketch would be perceived. Several other stories I could share, none (not even these) having entered really into my mind until reading this, and watching a couple of your blog clips. No wonder there is subconscious hidden agendas against myself in this area, obviously not limited to auto accident recovery in which I am currently in. Guess they popped up in the archives of my mind while trying to get my life back together from my accident, all trying to haunt me to a halt.

    Guess I need to prove my archives wrong! I will relearn how to paint and draw again. Taking a lesson even from myself, that although someone told me I wouldn’t be successful, and seriously struggle like I couldn’t make it in school, that with grit and GOD I was nearly a straight A student, so much so that commonly dubbed the teachers pet. It became usually not a struggle to do, but often boring because it wasn’t challenging enough for my creative mind. By God’s grace and power I will move forward!!! Not necessary to be something awesome to others, but to give the right details in my life to bring joy and contentment in the human-being, and for it to someday be a blessing to others. There is a destination….the necessary details are in choosing the right path. No halting but a GO forward, whether in little steps or big ones. Or is that no matter how large or tiny the brush stroke. Each stroke is of highest value.
    Thanks Anna for the reminders & encouragement!

  7. Katherine Docherty 12 months ago

    I love painting very realistic , lifelike paintings, yet I am constantly being told to loosen up & make bigger more expansive strokes. I love the way you build up layers in watercolour & have at last found a way of painting that I love , thank you.! It has been so dispiriting to constantly be made to feel as if my work is wrong & despite going to art classes for years after I retired, I never felt I was achieving anything I liked, & my work was usless ..If I asked how to paint watercolour techniques, I was told painting can “not Be taught” & made to feel that I was wasting my time. I am now spending many pleasurable hours painting flowers, birds & animals your way & am very happy & enjoying my hobby very much. Thanks to Anna for all the tips & Courses. Kathy.

  8. Lammi 10 months ago

    My first art weekend was with an artist who paints loose and asked us to represent and interpret. I myself land somewhere in the middle now. I will attempt to work in both styles because both are feeding something different. Sometimes I just want to dab wet on wet just to watch the flow and mingling paint action and add a few details and other times I want more detail:) I love the realism/nature and simplicity of background which is what prompted me to enrol in Anna’s online class. I’m starting my 3rd month:) I’m starting the mouse this weekend! I just love it!!!

    We had a guest artist from the UK who suggested that we look at it this way:
    detail… about the subject
    loose/representational/abstract….is about the artist
    colour representation/abstract….is about colour

    • Author
      Anna Mason 10 months ago

      love that from the art guest Lammi – that’s really helpful. I may share that one.

  9. Sharon3 9 months ago

    Just love this site,
    thank you

  10. Pippilotta 9 months ago

    I think many loose painters are not able to paint in detail.

  11. Pamela Conley 9 months ago

    I’ve always liked detailed, more realistic paintings but not to the point where they look like photos. That’s what I’m striving for as I learn. But I keep running into, “But no one wants that kind of painting! Learn impressionist style!” Drives me nuts. I do want to be able to sell so I’m confused and conflicted

  12. Rosalie Roscoe 9 months ago

    Anna, thank you for this article. I loved art when I was younger and did work with colored chalk in grade school. WhenI got to high school I was told that I was too detailed and gave up. Throughout the years, I did other activities and missed painting. I retired and had time to learn to paint with watercolors, however, I was told that I needed to loosen up and not be so detailed. I was discouraged once again. Then I joined your school and found out that it was okay to paint your own way. Thank you for all the info you share with us.

  13. Walter 1 month ago

    You hit the nail on the head when you asserted that dogmatic advocates of loose style need to loosen up. Brilliant!

  14. Patricia 3 weeks ago

    I have really enjoyed reading these comments . I first started painting at 80 years of age . I was handed brushes canvas & paints by my friend who paints in the Life Style village where I came to live after a busy life of breeding showing & judging dogs . My husband ‘s health was declining & he needed more of my time so I gave away my beloved dogs .& I asked my friend to show me how to start painting as I needed a hobby. Much to my joy & delight I found I had a small talent & I discovered how I could slip into my space & all my worries would fade as I lost myself painting in acrylics. I then decided to try doing animal portraits in pastel . I soon had painted all the dogs & cats present & past on for every one that lives here..When word got out amongst the Dog world people that I painted life like pictures of Collies & Shelties I started to get orders from owners wanting to buy from me . All this was good for my ego but I wanted to do other subjects .
    I thought I should have some training & found a teacher locally & joined a class to learn watercolour.My fellow classmates are so special that after five years I am still struggling to find satisfaction with my results . I have a cupboard full of expensive paints & other equipment but not happy with results from painting in a loose style . Anna’s pictures of flowers made me long to paint like her . So I have now started another journey . I hope I can be successful now I have found this wonderful site I will be trying .

  15. Sandra 3 weeks ago

    Thank you for this post! I love painting details. I get so much enjoyment out of it and it calms me down. I was getting very discouraged and frustrated by the pressure to paint loosely, People are not trying to be rude, but they don’t understand the damage they are potentially doing to the person who is struggling to be their own authentic self.. They really just don’t understand the tighter painter’s mind set. Saying ‘paint loosely’ was like my first grade teacher who tried to make me write with my right hand instead of my left–impossible for me. I began painting and drawing at a young age. I began taking painting classes again a few years ago and almost quit class several times, but I was determined to NOT quit painting. Class was becoming miserable. I finally just continued painting the way I wanted to paint but used the other great techniques being taught in class. I just ignore all the comments about my painting style now.

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