Once a year, a painting just flows as I work on it and is better in front of me than the vision I had been hoping for. It’s magic, and it’s what hooked me on being an artist. That happened for me the first time when I was 14 painting in a Memphis College of Art summer kid session. Sadly, it doesn’t happen often. Even after decades of making art, usually what comes out never matches the vision in my head when I started. Which doesn’t mean I’m not proud of my work, but it does mean I always see the bits I wish were different.
I was struggling to paint all summer, and it was deeply good to come home from Paris with new ideas and inspiration. This is an image from there, even though I took the photo several years ago and have been thinking about it and waiting for it to make sense in my mind before I started to paint. I’m enjoying being back to oils now that I’m home with my easel (this is 3x4’, so not a travel kind of piece), and even though I’ll keep struggling with paintings in this water series, it was a lovely gift to get started again and have it be so much fun.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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