Posts Tagged ‘#CharlotteMertz’


Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

The question often arises, “How can I develop an artistic style?”  Perhaps the most difficult answer for a young artist to hear is that it develops on its own. Over time. With lots and lots of practice.  (Sorry, kids, but it doesn’t pay to fake it.)

"Red Chopsticks," by Charlotte Mertz  (8"x10" watercolor, #140208w)

“Red Chopsticks,” by Charlotte Mertz
(8″x10″ watercolor, #140208w)

The truth is that it has to do with the palette choices an artist typically makes, how we adjust colors, the way we handle our brushwork, the subjects we choose and the concepts that move us, the degree to which we include detail or suggestion, how realistic or abstract our compositions tend to be, how we handle edges and transitions, how we design our compositions, ….

These choices are made based on our understanding and experience at any given point in our artistic development. In the beginning we may rely entirely on the guidance of a teacher or our own creative instincts. The more experience we gain, the more readily we can base our choices on our own discoveries and preferences.

These kinds of choices are all among the many factors that contribute to what others come to recognize as our personal artistic style. We are less likely to recognize it as a “style” ourselves because it feels so natural to us. It seems too easy!

In fact, these style choices are usually not made through conscious decisions but by what feels good, comfortable, or natural to us and the way we handle our medium(s).

And yes, those behaviors and choices (whether conscious or unconscious) can and should change over time, as we learn, as our work matures, and as we gain confidence in the process.

We’re doing well when we begin to recognize similarities in our paintings, because these are clues about our developing personal style.

Yet we should never feel we can’t change things up just because it’s a common thread at the moment. Experimentation with variations of those commonalities is how our work continues to develop and mature.

Saved for a rainy day

Monday, June 15th, 2020

The idea of “saving for a rainy day” has become something of a joke because we often don’t recognize when the “rainy day” arrives, so we hesitate to touch what we’ve saved, even then.

"This Too Shall Pass," by Charlotte Mertz (11"x15" watercolor, #200404w)

“This Too Shall Pass,” by Charlotte Mertz (11″x15″ watercolor, #200404w)

What I’ve “saved for a rainy day” is photographs, reference material to use when I might no longer be able to travel as freely as when I was young.

Well guess what. That rainy day is here! The time has come when most of us have found ourselves looking at the same scenery day after day.  For many, our world shrank down to our immediate environs. Travel has been limited, and the comfort of human interaction has been discouraged.

But I still have those photographs, as well as images sent by others, and the personal memories of a lifetime to broaden my view, to remind me that there are other things, other places, other people in this world beyond our immediate surroundings and concerns. They carry me outside the present insular world of limited space into the universality of human experience.

It’s been euphemistically raining cats and dogs for months now. Buckets; a deluge, a gully-washer. Longer even than the 40 days and 40 nights of Noah’s proverbial (and likewise unprecedented) voyage. It’s a prime time to sift through my savings of photographs and a lifetime of experiences and remember that everyone everywhere has been affected. Although a clearer sky may be on my horizon, others may still be feeling the brunt of the storm.

Can I use my art to provide an emotional stabilizer to lift spirits and remind us all that “this too shall pass”? I have to try.  What can I do to uplift others? Paint, teach, encourage,…?

Is it enough? Maybe not, but it’s a start. It’s something. And it may mean more to someone else than I realize at the time. Even though it doesn’t feel to me like enough, it may mean everything to them.  So I paint.  And teach.  And offer encouragement when I can.