I Do Not Paint What Your Eyes See

I do not paint what your eyes see.

Nor do I paint what my eyes see.

But I don't use my eyes. I don't look; I feel.

You see, my goal isn't to create an exact replica of what God has already created. I can't compete with that. Besides, if that's what I aimed to do, I could take a very nice picture with my camera and call it a day. I am not ignorant to the fact that some viewers will roll their eyes when they see my work. My paintings are cute. They're sweet, heartwarming, reminiscent of the simplicity of childhood, and downright adorable at times. There are undoubtedly spectators who want depth and complexity. But my work is not for them; it's for those who understand it. And it's mostly for me.

My goal is to create a visual representation of how I feel when I look at something. So, although I use my eyes for the rough sketch of an animal or farm scene, I use my feelings to guide me through the painting process. For example, the colors I choose to paint a rooster aren't the colors I literally see on the live rooster itself. I just want to make clear to all those critics out there, who think I'm actually attempting to paint the rooster as a lifelike image, that I am not incapable of painting that way. I choose not to because that's not who I am. Who am I then? Well, I'm no Terry Redlin or Thomas Kinkade. My paintings would probably be more suitable for a children's picture book because that's the type of painting that makes me joyful.

I AM JOYFUL (and grateful and humbled and content). I am just me.

When I sit down to begin a painting of an animal, what do you think is the first thing I paint?

The eyes.

There's so much connection in eyes. The moment I get the eyes started, I feel as if I have a friend there with me. And for the remainder of that painting, my little friend and I talk about how to bring out all of the happiness it's capable of showing. (Ok, we don't literally "talk", but yet, we sort of communicate with each other. And if this seems odd to you, you might be better off following a different type of artist.) Together, we search for the colors that bring out all the glorious fun and sweetness possible. Where some see white, I feel purply blues. Where some see brown, I feel golds and magentas. It's how it is for me. And when people walk by my art and smile or even laugh, I know they feel a feeling similar to the one I had while painting.

It's a transfer of energy.

God made this beautiful world and it's creatures.

That beauty passes on to my heart, which transfers over to my paintbrush, which transfers over to those who bring my art into their homes.

And so it goes.

On and on.

As it should.


Wishing you the easiness of being who you are in a world that asks for more.


#paintingwhatyoufeel #animals #watercolor


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Artist Sharon Larson

S. Larson Watercolors

Long Grove, Iowa