The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Neat? ....Or not?

For those of you who despair of my 'neatness', this one's for you!
(you can click on the images to make them larger)

© Sandra Busby Watercolour and Gouache

It's about as far away from my most recent paintings as you can get, lol!

It was inspired by a painting I saw in a gallery recently, which I immediately liked.
I spent so much time studying the painting that I never thought to look at the name of the artist! It's a shame because I would have liked to have looked up some more of the artists work and shared their name with you too.

I took my newly found inspiration and used it to portray this scene from the woodlands at the bottom of my garden. Although initially it was meant to depict the pathway running through the woods, in the end it became a stream, because I felt that it seemed to read better that way!
Don't you just love the advantage of artistic license? Besides, who's going to know it was a pathway anyway? ;0)

As I have said before, I like to try to offer a variety of styles on my blog, though I will probably always lean towards and perhaps even settle on realism  - simply because I like it, it's me and instead of fighting it, I have finally begun to embrace it. Anyway - why not? I mean who makes the rules anyway?
To be honest, I question why anyone should feel pressured to follow the current trend - unless of course it comes naturally to them.
That said, I still like to dip my toes in the water now and again!

Now, to add a twist to this post - you may remember my Fields of Gold post in which I produced a  pencil sketch of a Spanish landscape. Well, here is a watercolour version.

I decided to post it, regardless of how I feel about it...
As much as I like painting realism in oils and acrylics I don't feel quite the same when it comes to watercolour. And following my most recent work, you may be surprised to learn that I prefer the first and find this one absolutely dull, uninspiring... even sterile!

© Sandra Busby

I really think that the opinion will be divided between these two paintings. I mean, if you like one, then you surely won't like the other, right?

Isn't art an interesting thing? It divides so many opinions! The naturally neat people are forever wanting to loosen up and the naturally loose people are trying to neaten up! Just as those of us with straight hair long for curls and those of you with curls long for straight hair!

So, tell me - which of these paintings do you prefer? Maybe you don't like either! And please, don't be shy - Say what you really think! I am entirely comfortable with that because I don't consider either one of these paintings to be the real me. One is my interpretation of somebody else's style and the other is a forced effort to paint the very subject which I least enjoy - Landscapes!

This should be interesting :0)


  1. Well, you've given me much to look at and think about here Sandra. I enlarged both paintings and kept looking back and forth and here's what I think: I like them both, both are very technically well done. I love your use of color in the bottom one (that purple in the shadows of the hedge is awesome, especially because it's next to that golden field, complementary eye poppin stuff! Very cool) and I do really like it.

    But. . . the top one is the one where I feel passion. I really do, even if you were painting it after another's style I see more of your personality in it. I think this one shows that you are painting with your heart, maybe because it looks like you're letting go of inhibitions, you're not caring what anyone else thinks. I'm not sure, I think I'm just babbling now so I better end.

    I like them both, both are exceptionally well done, but I prefer the top one, it has movement, passion and heart and my eye keeps going back to it again and again. :)

  2. My choice would be the first one, no surprise there. But I like the second one too. I love loose paintings, but I totally admire people who can paint neatly, because I can't and I seriously would like to learn. I think this art journey that we are on is about trying out different things, and it is all you. What if you would have found your style? Are you never going to paint something different then? I am sure that would be very boring after a while. Hope you know what I mean. ;-)

  3. Hello Sandra,
    I really enjoyed the posts!
    The watercolor is loose, light and full of atmosphere and climate.
    The oil (the landscape with yellow wheat field) has a decided coloridom and his unmistakable style.
    Congratulations my friend and thank you for your generous comments.

  4. You are right! Second one BUT, the amazing bit in that picture is definately to me the movement and colours in the field. I would have been happy to see the field, a few faint mountains in the background and the sky with just that one building on the left and lose the rest. It seems much busier in colour than it did as a pencil sketch. Still love it though.

  5. Terrific post!! I think we are always struggling with finding our style. This may be a fruitless task because we are ever evolving as people. Most artists I meet started out either realist or abstract and as they got older ended up predominately painting the opposite way. I wouldn't worry about it. I would have fun and see where it takes you, at least that's my take on it:) Both paintings are fabulous. I am drawn to the 2nd painting, I think it's a tighter, more realistic style, which I happen to enjoy. I also really love the color combination and it appeals to my love of travel. The top scene is beautiful also, how daring to throw that pink in there. Maybe you could mix the two. Have some of those watery color mixes in the more realistic painting. Play in the shadows. I think your work is fantastic and I've seen such a progression since you've begun blogging. On a side note, I struggle with the idea of having a cohesive body of work. I'm going to try to paint series of works so that at least I have multiples in each style, theme, etc. Great post, you really got me thinking:)

  6. Both of these paintings are smashing Sandra! There's a lovely dream-like quality to the first, especially with that misty path running up through the trees. But what I like about this painting, is that it is so loose, it's almost falling apart!
    In the second I like how the rooftops are nestling in amongst the "neat" trees! You've put an awful lot of work into the field of (barley?), and it looks good. Although this painting is more neat and colourful than the first, there is something about it that makes me think I like it better of the two, and is certainly not "uninspiring". My very first thoughts about it was of the similarity with Claude Monet's Poppie field at Argenteuil, all it needs is a splattering of red poppies throughout that corn and of course, the girl and the lady nestling in it!

  7. I can't decide between them Sandra. I don't understand why on earth you thought that the second one was too hideous to post! It's gorgeous and really shows what an extremely talented artist you are. But on the other hand, perhaps the first one shows the true artist inside you, and came from the heart. The fact that you changed a path into a stream and it didn't matter tells me that you enjoyed this more and that emotion must surely show in the final piece. Paint what you feel, not what you see!

  8. I prefer the second one - the colors together are gorgeous. And while it is neat and precise in it's lines, the way you let the watercolors be watercolors and kept shapes whole, without breaking them up into too many details, and put such beautiful colors in your shadows is wonderful! Honestly, the first one is lovely, but feels like it's missing something to me. I can't say what, which I know is entirely unhelpful. Sorry! What I like about it though is the spontaneity.

  9. Beautiful work.
    It has been delightful
    to visit your gallery.
    Good Creations

  10. Sandra, firstly I totally get what you mean about trying to fit into a certain mould or in fact break out of a certain mould. Your work amazes me - you are a realist and I admire that so much because I don't think I ever could be - not in watercolour or oils anyway - So much so that I prefer to add a dollop of impressionism to my work so that it doesn't just look like a bad attempt at realism!! I put so much detail and work into my ink pointillism portraits that it is often a relief to work more loosly in other mediums.
    Now, I genuinely don't know what you are talking about when you say that the second picture was a disaster - it is amazing and beautiful and completely perspectively and compositionally correct imho! That said I adore your first painting because of the aforementioned love of impressionism - I love adding colours that don't actually exist in reality and this is just beautiful - it almost looks like you've spraypainted parts of it. I really really love it!

  11. Crystal - Thank you! I am right with you! I really did enjoy painting the first simply because it was such a lot of fun to throw the paint around and see what happened and I think it shows. The second is okay but it's been done a million times and there is nothing unique about it - nothing that says anything about me and that's my problem with it :0)

    Judy - Thank you! And yes, I absolutely know what you mean. When I say settle, I mean find a style I am truly comfortable and happy with. But I don't think I would ever stop experimenting from time to time because I bore too easily! :0)

  12. Hi Sandra, I'm sure that you already know that my preference goes to the first one. But, sincerely, I think that also the second one is very nice.
    I had, some years ago, the same doubts that you have now, about the right ways of reproduce the reality in a painting. I tried everything, from a very realistic mode to abstract. Now I have reached the conclusion that what I do, is first for myself, I want to enjoy myself when painting (or better, I need to enjoy myself). So, now I'm not worried about my style, if what I do likes to somebody, I'm happy, if doesn't matter. But, according to my experience, there will be always someone who will appreciate your work, indipendently from the we said in Italy "is not nice what is beautiful, but it is nice what it likes" (non è bello ciò che è bello, ma è bello ciò che piace). Un abbraccio. Tito.

  13. Sandra, both paintings are good in their own way - really!! Art is so subjective, from creation to interpretation and everything in between. I think, with landscapes especially, one paints the scene as one reacts to it emotionally; the best and most a painter can do is express their visual and emotional response to the scene. And I love your posts. They are really making me think more about my art, in a deeper way. Thank you, Sandra!

  14. Beautiful landscapes, especially the second...Arianna!

  15. Antonio - Thank you very much! You are very kind :0)

    Amanda - I know what you mean. Its those dark trees! It's odd that I like the trees and yet I don't like the field! Isn't it funny how we all see such different things :0)

    Carrie - Thank you! You are right - it is probably a fruitless task. I really enjoyed letting go for a change because it allowed me to be more imaginative. It also gave me a break from all of that observation I have been doing lately. I'm amazed that it seems most people like both in different ways. I expected it to be very much one way or the other :0)

    Frank - You surprise me! I really expected you to go for the first! I very nearly added some poppies at the time because there were a few dotted around the field as it so happens. In the end I decided the field looked quite warm enough and since I wasn't happy with it, I didn't want to draw any more attention to it. On hindsight perhaps I should have done to break it up a little! I may even do that! :0)

  16. Michael - Thank you! I really expected everyone to like either one or the other and not both! I enjoyed experimenting again and it has given me a taste for doing more :0)

    Alisha - Thank you for visiting my blog! And you are the first to have a clear preference (surprising isn't it?)!
    Maybe the first is missing some sort of animal life or something. Anyway, it's great to hear everyone's views. Hope to see you again :0)

    Skizo - And thank you for visiting my blog too! I am glad you enjoy what you see so far and hope you visit again soon :0)

    Pointy Pix - Thank you! I know what you mean about needing relief from such detailed work. You can certainly tell I needed to let go in the top one! I think I have so many more styles to try - but as much I think it is so incredibly clever, I really don't think I would be patient enough to try pointillism! It amazes me every time I see them though :0)

  17. Tito - Thank you so much for your lovely comment! I agree that enjoyment is the most important part of painting and it's also important to please ourselves and not just strive for the approval of others.
    You are right, I did think you would prefer the first. I think in your own work you have the perfect balance between realist and impressionist and that is what I admire so much in your work. I hope that one day I will also find a natural balance :0)

    Studio - Thank you so much! It is so lovely to learn that you are finding more to my blog than just pictures! I am so surprised that so many like both paintings!:0)

    Arianna - Thank you very much! And I expected you to prefer the first, lol! :0)

  18. Hi Sandra, wow both paintings are terrific. I can't believe you put the landscape away and considered it a failed painting???? I really like it. Of course i love the first painting it is colorful and fun actually it has a quite mystical/magical feeling. As far as realism vs. trend you are right we have to go with our gut feeling, that is, what we enjoy and what is fullfilling to us as artists:)

  19. It’s great that you can do both and its all good exercise. I really admire your careful approach and the fact you finish the job despite the frustration that comes with art making. I think it is much better to pursue what you enjoy doing the most rather than what is fashionable or whatever. The looser painting has more atmosphere and depth because it leaves some to the imagination. When you fully render something it loses some of that mystery (not all loose paintings have that quality mind you) I personally never use watercolour because I think they are much less forgiving than oil in that it’s hard to correct. I think it’s useful if you can push paint into areas and keep adjusting. W-C doesn’t allow that and so a more methodical approach is needed which can become a bit 'paint by numbers'. If you found a middle ground between these two you would have something special. I'm interested to know why you thought the 2nd one was a failure though?.

  20. Further to Tito's comment I think the phrase (at least in English) ''Beauty is in the eye of the beholder'' sums it up. :D

  21. i find it difficult to compare these two paintings sandra each has it's own merits ..the second one is beautifully painted and has a strong style of it's own ... you can see your enjoyment in the first one wet in wet banks and splattering are done extremely well love the pinks and greens.. the transparency reminds me of your lovely gate painting ... would love to see another version of the field ...have a good w-e

  22. Sandra, I like both paintings...however, I love the looseness of the first well as the wonderful colors.

  23. They are both beautiful! Each has its own unique style and carries its own special feeling. You are a very versatile artist! I'm impressed by all the different mediums and creative things that you are doing with your art!

  24. I too like them both. I have a taste in paintings that runs from realistic to loose to abstract. I don't see why you'd want to limit yourself Sandra, when you are so very capable in different styles.
    I don't understand why you thought the fields not worth posting. Its lovely and warm. I might have softened the edge where it meets the greenery - but that's personal choice, It works jolly well as is.
    So, for me, BOTH! :) xx

  25. Cathy - Thank you! I think it's because there is nothing unique about the second painting. It just is what it is and says nothing about me - That's why I see it as a failure. Still, I am glad everone else seems to like it :0)

    James - Thank you! I certainly enjoyed the first one the most and I think it shows, though I agree that the middle ground would be good to find. Will you be avoiding the watercolour section then? On hindsight I wish I had done the acrylics/oils section first instead! :0)

    Jane - Thank you! I imagined that out of the two you might prefer the first one. I had fun with it, which is the main thing. Tight watercolours just don't do it for me, which is why I enjoy your own blog :0)

    Hmuxo - Thank you! I am with you on that :0)

    Katherine - Thank you! I think it's because I am still in the early stages and so I haven't settled yet. Also, I bore easily so it is important for me to try different types of art to keep me from losing interest. I love wondering what will come next! :0)

    Pat - Thank you! I don't think I would ever want to limit myself. The course I was on seemed to do that - I found it to be very inhibiting. That is why I have broken free and am going my own way now. I am sure I can take myself furhter and quicker than I would otherwise have done :0)

  26. both are incredible...should one style be better than another, i think they both offer so much to admire. trying out different styles is at the heart of creativity, but i think we do ourselves a disservice by trying to follow the trend. now if i only believed that! beautiful work sandra! :0)

  27. Sandra, you have been busy!!! Congrats on the 7 links! I enjoyed seeing your opinions and thoughts on that. As for this post, you know me, right now, I prefer the loose. Just last night I was going to paint an idea of a sailboat with an amazing wash. Well, it turned out tight! I want to think that as artists we are evolving, but, is it like love, it is not there when we are looking for it? i feel like i keep looking for my style and questioning my style that until i just chill out, will it evolve.

  28. Suzanne - Thank you! I think I will always want to try different things, but have yet to find myself! The journey is a lot of fun :0)

    Liana - I have been trying to be loose for so long! But I think the problem is in the 'trying' part! I think that eventually it will come naturally as we gain confidence :0)

  29. Hi Sandra, thank you for your comment on my blog. I don't think I will avoid the W-C section because trying to stick to confort zones is never healthy and things learnt in other mediums can even help develop or transfer over to the areas you enjoy more.

  30. James - That's good and I completely agree with you :0)

  31. Sandra, I've read your post today with great interest. When I saw the first watercolor woodland, (landscape is my worst subject,) well all I could think was "this is how I want to paint.. "" like you though I feel it is copying someone elses' style..
    I'm not crazy about the second ,, why? because I don't like that style ,, too perfect. too color book style . now that just my opinion, there are people who love it.. It's well done. not that it isn't... just not what I like..
    When I first started to paint ( a hundred years ago lol ) I was into photo realism. oils, and then acrylics. Even now my pencil work has to look like a black and white photo.
    Watercolor. I love the style the look of your woodland. Have you ever gone to Pat Elliots blog.
    She has the look I love.. I'm trying to achieve that without copying her style,, not an easy chore, but I'll get there.. I need another whole lifetime. as for you 'Miss neither here nor there' you are a wonderful artist,, and I'm glad to hear you feel the way you do.. I thought I was a total failure. because I don't have a style.. even though some people say I do ..
    Like you today... I am in a funk.. the last few days .. it will pass.. it always does... (hugs) BJ

  32. Sandra, I made an error in my post above,
    Although I love Pat Elliots work , Its' the style of Diana Davis that I meant to say...
    Oh, and I'm still getting around to the
    7 Links project. I haven t forgotten ,,,
    BJ (again)

  33. Ab Fab insight here Sandra! I think that most artists are ever evolving. I know I am, and that is a good thing. It means that I flow with where I am to be and what I am to be at that particular moment. If finding out what type of artist means I have made it, then I don't want to be made...because to me it means that I am putting myself into a box. Afterall, I don't believe anyone should be put there!!!

    Continue being the creative you, as well as inspiring!

    Be blessed!

    Oh, and I like both paintings, but if I had to choose one, it would be the top image. I have to try a bit harder to get perspectives right, and you have seemed to nail it. The colors draw me in, and I really like its graphic qualities!!!

  34. Barbra - Oh yes, Diana Davis is brilliant isn't she? I've long been a fan of hers - especially the humming birds. I also prefer the top one. I am glad you have a clear preference. I think there is a lack of uniqueness to the bottom one. I mean, there is nothing in it that says anythng about me at all and this is where my problem lies with it :0)

    Artist in me - Welcome to my blog and thank you for popping in and taking the time to comment! I think most people seem to like the top one. I think that you are right to avoid the 'box'! I think I will do the same :0)

  35. I like both the paintings..the splash style is cool, and the golden fields is warm and glowing!

  36. Another stunning and beautiful post thank you again Sandra.

  37. Sparrowhawk - Thank you very much! It's lovely to hear from you :0)

    Ralph - I am glad you enjoy your visits. Thank you :0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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