How I Shocked Myself with 1 Painting and Every Painting After That

I am sure that you have had that feeling when you looked at a painting and felt that it had stirred something inside of you.

It is an eerie experience and difficult to explain to yourself or even worse tried to explain how you felt to a companion who did not feel the same.

This happened to me many years ago when I paid a visit to the National Gallery in London and viewed the original paintings of John Constable. Fortunately I was on my own at the time so could wallow in the experience and as a result those feelings lasted for many hours, enough time for them to fully imprint in my memory.

So how did I explain those feelings and why were they so intense?

Did I in fact feel some kind of distant emotion from the many hundreds of thousand people who had view these before me, or, could it be possible that I felt some distant emotion from the great man himself that was permanently imbedded in the work of art. I would certainly like to think that this was the case, but could this be possible?

All this happened to me nearly 40 years ago and since then I have worked tirelessly at my passion for producing my own artwork.

After working hard to learn as much as I could first with watercolour and later with the pastel pencil I did not give any more thought to those feelings I had experienced. However that was soon to dramatically change…

I had completed quite a few animal portraits so had plenty of practice but on this one occasion when I viewed the dog portrait I had just finished I literally had a panic attack.

There was something very different about this portrait than the others I had done and for the life of me I could not work out what it was. I admit it did look better than usual but then I always expected each painting to be a little better, that is the benefit of the pastel pencil medium.

But there was definitely something else and my thoughts were if I don’t know what I did differently how on earth was I going to repeat it again, hence the panic attack.

Straight away I did another portrait and that turned out the same, and then the next..

I now know what happened that day and I will do my best to explain this to you.

I quite literally had started to paint with feeling that is to lose myself in my artwork, oblivious to everything around me.

In other words a form of meditation…

You have heard me say many times in my videos how much I am enjoying the artwork often with little asides like:

“..now that eye really stands out”


“I am pleased with the way that hair looks”


“That fur looks a bit special”.

What is happening is that I am sharing my feelings with you…

All this is spontaneous and not thought out beforehand and as a result all these feelings are being transferred to the artwork itself.

If you are able to understand this then when the time comes that your artwork suddenly speaks to you then you know you have joined the club and once you join you are life members.

John Constable and all the great artists felt the same way in their passion for their work, so do great musicians and others in creative pursuits.

Feelings are real and once that are imprinted in your work then they will always be there, all you need to do is experience them while you produce your paintings.

Want to try my pastel pencil videos and join the club? Check out our free courses below and then see if you’d like to join my membership.

Free Kitten Course

Free Landscape Course

Free Watercolour Course

By | 2018-03-15T15:13:13+00:00 February 18th, 2016|Tips & Techniques|2 Comments