Experience your Creative Process

Grammy's Ramblings

Struggling as an artist who doesn't draw

I am an AMAZING artist. What I do, I do very well. But I can't draw. I don't do "representational". My stuff, generally you can't point at it and say "Oh, that's a (fill in the noun)"

Blue Flower 500 px.jpg

This is my most recent attempt to learn a new encaustic painting technique (painting with hot wax). 

It's obvious to me, but the photo on top is the reference photo and the painting on the bottom is my result. Now I grant you, I'm learning a new technique and this is my first attempt, but the result that you see here is what normally happens when I attempt to "draw" something in my paintings. It's crap. I can't draw

Daisy 500 px.jpg

Which brings me to this. This is a gorgeous 10" square canvas of a daisy. You can see that it's daisy. 

"Oh," you say. "So really, you can draw!"

Nope. This is all technique. A dear friend of mine, who does painting and craft lessons online, did a lesson one day on how to "create" flower shapes. How to hold the paintbrush and what strokes to use to create a bunch of different flowers. I took that technique and created this giant close up. I still can't draw a daisy. But I can do this.


This is my interpretation of a photo of a friend sitting on a beach wearing an orange sun hat.

She does this a lot. Her husband takes a lot of pictures of her (she is a very beautiful woman)


This is another shot (taken several years later) of my friend wearing a rainbow coverup and her orange hat looking at an island.

As you can see, I still can't draw but you can see the horizon line (that's easy, it's a color change), an island (?) in the distance and of course Joanne's hat and coverup sitting on some boulders in the foreground. 

Conclusion: I don't draw.





"But," my friends say, "I have this beautiful landscape that you sent me and it's got birds and flowers and grass and stuff. You can draw."


Once again, these beautiful landscapes are all technique. I paint them with a small iron. You know, that thing that your mom used to use to get wrinkles out of your clothes? Yes, one of those. I have a small craft iron, some wax and a blank piece of 4 X 6 photo paper. And you move the iron this way and you load up the wax like this and then you tap here and here, flick a little wax there and voilà--a landscape. 

So I can't draw. I let that fact keep me from painting for 40 years. Even though, in the deepest part of my most hidden self I wanted to, really wanted to paint. Then one day a friend says to me, "Come on, I'm teaching a painting class, you should come." I pulled on my big girl panties, sucked in my breath and went to his class. I picked up a paint brush, looked at a the blank canvas in front of me and thought "there should be some green right there", and I started to paint.

Grammy Dawney's first ever painting

Grammy Dawney's first ever painting