Inside the Studio: How a Painting is Born


… And then the magic art fairy sweeps in and sprinkles fairy dust all over the studio and my painting is finished — or maybe not quite like that.

I do believe Creativity comes from outside of us, but it’s most of all about showing up every day to commit to your craft. Creativity must find you at work, or she won’t bother with you; she’ll think you unworthy of her time if you cannot meet her halfway and hold up your end of the deal. (I will refer to Creativity henceforth as a “her,” because my Creative is a she and I will capitalize her name, giving her the respect she deserves. I’m trying to butter her up for future works.)

In bringing you inside the making of a painting, the above first had to be said and a nod of gratitude given to Creativity, so you all realize that. Not even I know what a painting will look like until it’s done. But the part that interests us mere mortals most is the “our end of the deal” part of the work.

I start my day in the studio with my coffee and a journal. I try to leave everything distracting inside that journal, let it all out on the page, then focus on the art. I also write about the work, what my goal in the studio is and what my focus is.

In this work, titled “All Roads Lead You Right Back to Yourself,” I was painting for a show I have coming up titled “From Farm to Frame,” an exploration in agriculture-themed landscapes. On a personal level, I have been obsessed with skies. Not only because why wouldn’t you be? but because I feel I can learn much from painting them over and over. So this piece needed a rockin’ sky and a landscape that was related to agriculture; that was the starting point.

In the attached video, you can watch how I began and brought it almost to completion. I did not film the “finishing” of the work, which does take some time, because frankly it’s boring. It’s a lot of staring at the canvas, making little adjustments, then a few more, then readjusting, continuing to shape it until my eye was happy. And that, dear ones, in short, is how a painting goes from blank canvas to voilà! Finished.

The most important detail here was that I showed up for my end of the deal, or I showed up! As Woody Allen famously said, 80% of success is just showing up.

How do you “show up” in your everyday life? A question to ponder, or feel free to write your reply in the comments or on my Facebook page.

About Stephanie Schlatter Art

Stephanie Schlatter is an Artist who draws from the world for inspiration. While she calls Grand Rapids, Michigan, home she’s often off on new adventures. For more than a decade, her journeys have taken her across the globe. She has studied art both locally and abroad, including time in Mexico, where she decided to shift her focus from photography to painting. Stephanie's travels led her to found Absolutely Art: A Project for Change in 2006. Through this non-profit organization, she brings art instruction to the children of Ethiopia while supporting their education. Stephanie's work reflects an expression influenced by other cultures which resonates a variety of influences that have given her work direction.

2 responses »

  1. Refreshing! Always enjoy reading your art in words & actual visual – what’s seen & appreciated in the beauty of the expression.

    Sent from my iPhone


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