Painting from life can be an exhilarating experience; after all, art imitates life. Life painting hasn’t always been a passion of mine until recently. It’s been a challenge to paint from life since most of my inspiration derives from imagination. In fact, I wouldn’t say I liked painting from life for most of my art career. Thanks to a few fantastic mentors along my journey, I developed a better relationship with painting from life. Yet still, it had its difficulties. I never felt good at it. To make things worse, multiple Strada challenges needed to be completed. Further complicating this journey.
That is until I sat down and pushed myself to do the September challenge this year. And I do mean forced. With multiple conventions and other projects taking up the majority of my time, including two 8’x4′ paintings I’m working on as I’m typing this. It was an enormous endeavor to participate. So much, that sometimes all I could manage was a quick 5-10 minute sketch. In the end, perseverance paid off, and I was able to complete the 2019 Strada challenge. In that short month, I gained more confidence and skills than I had in the many years of fighting life painting. While also improving my skills to recreate the fantastical fantasy illustrations that my heart loves.
While some may consider this off-topic, I feel it fits right in. Without life painting, I wouldn’t have been able to reach the next level in my fantasy illustrations and worldbuilding. One cannot make something from nothing. Creating mythical creatures requires solid anatomy, color, and texture that is found in nature.
Behind this illustration is hours upon hours of study, referencing, painting, sketching, frustration, and crumpled drawings. The more we hone our skills to see what is in front of us, the better we can create what inspires us.
Please be sure to register for the Strada Challenge in January. Together we can all level up and gain the skillsets to do what we love.
Check out the Strada page and Strada Painting from Life group on Facebook for more information.