Crazy Artists? No, Not Us!


Crazy? Weird?

  • Is it because some artist years ago behaved in a crazy manner? Perhaps from what Vincent van Gogh did?
  • Is it because some artists started painting crazy wild paintings? Like since Paul Gauguin’s time?
  • Is it the way some arty people dressed in hippy fashion a few years ago? Why did artist dress weirdly? Mainly because people only accepted you as a real artist if you dressed weirdly!
  • Is it because artists have liberated views and do their own thing? Knowing they have inner conference, they don’t really care what people may think of them!
Crazy bright colours

A5 watercolour: How green is our valley.

So, how do artists feel about been called crazy?

Crazy, weird! No ways. Not us! Don’t laugh….

It’s the `muggles’ that are crazy. They don’t use the magic that is in them! They let the real world pass them by. They don’t see the beauty that’s all around them.

They don’t take time out to observe the contrast of colours and tones, the atmospheric dimensions or rim-lights, or feel the energy in the most simplistic forms. Their lives must be bland. They have never truly lived!

Do they call authors crazy?

Of cause not! But, authors also need to use their imagination to conjure up plot concepts, just like artists have to conjure up new composition concepts.

When authors have a few facts, they still have to work out the in between stuff to get the story flowing. Same with artists, we have to bridge the basics to dramatically get peoples’ attention and imagination flowing.

Do they call musicians crazy?

Well I must admit, some of the music we hear these days could be called crazy, perhaps weird. It’s certainly upbeat and loud! So it’s not surprising art has become bright and `loud’ too.

But seriously now, the classic type of music is well thought out. Melodies must have rhythm. So must artwork to reach the hearts of those who look upon it.

Getting the composition together takes lots of work and the use of the inner soul to feel that they have reached the point where they know, this or that song is just right, perfect enough to put out there for public consumption.

So it is with artists:

We have to use our imagination and feelings to touch the senses and emotions of the public too. So, is using our feelings crazy? No, when you consider how people only buy art when their emotions are stimulated.

So what if we dress more interestingly than the average person out there! How we dress and behave is because it gets us in the mood of creativity. And of cause it’s groovy and fun to dress up.

And be grateful for our individuality. Why should we walk around being just copies, reproductions of all those dull un-interesting bland `muggle’ people out there?


So feel free to add what you would like to say in the comments block below. Us artists must stand up for ourselves!

Other links on artistic creativity:

Power of the Mind and Body


You don’t have power until you’ve changed your attitude!

Why? Because art is an emotional expression of the heart. If your emotions are negative, you can’t paint beautiful paintings.

Wishful thinking:

You often hear people say, “I wish I could paint like you!” But they never get around to actually painting something. Then tell me please, how do, they ever expect it to happen.

Maybe they think, like most people think, that artists are born with talent. That someday they will just sit down and Walla, their first painting is a great masterpiece!

Can you believe that? Yes, believe it or not, that is what new students expect with their first art lesson! That somehow the teacher will put a spell on them and they will turn out great works of art. How unrealistic can you be, but strangely, this is what most people expect.

Power of the mind

A5 watercolour painting: ‘Can’t see the wood for the trees’


Talent doesn’t grow on trees either! Just seeing something they like and thinking they can do it, “It looks so easy, any fool can paint it”


  • Wishful thinking doesn’t work.
  • One or two lessons won’t make you an artist.
  • Desire to paint doesn’t make it happen.
  • Looking at art books isn’t sufficient.
  • Believing you can do it isn’t enough.


  • Real intent coupled with action gets the ball rolling.
  • `Diving in boots and all’, creates a mess, but it is a beginning.
  • Passion for what you are doing inspires you.
  • But working at it, for the right reasons gets results.
  • Looking beyond reality awakens your soul to new theories.
  • Experimenting with new concepts pushes your artistic boundaries.


  • Success is following your heart. Doing what you like doing most.
  • Taking up challenges, against all odds.
  • Living the life of an artist, or whatever you want to be, every day.
  • If no one sees your talent, no one will know you have it.
  • Building up capital doesn’t happen without producing what sells.

What is your input on this topic?

Love to hear from you. Feel free to put your remarks in the comment box below.


Creative Secrets

Creativity of applying watercolours:

Painting isn’t just about applying paint. It’s how you go about it. How you get you act together, what attitude and mood you are in before you start to paint, how you mix your paints, etc. Whatever people may say, most dramas and mistakes are caused by been impatient.

Creative secrets for watercolours

A5 size watercolour: River scene.

Before beginning to paint:

Here are some creative tips:

  • Get yourself organized. Get all the necessary and possible resources, materials and pigments together, close to where you are working, so you can snatch up whatever you may need in a hurry, at any stage, at a moment’s notice to reduce any possible drama.
  • Get a big glass jar and fill it with clean fresh water. With a spray bottle, finely spray the pigments in paint box to soften the paints and make it easier to get your paints out of the pans in a hurry.
  • Play soft music to put you in the mood. Happy music helps to put freedom into your brushstrokes. Heavy beat music isn’t inspiring.
  • Prepare yourself and your creativity powers: If you haven’t painted for quite some time, get out some cheap paper (about 200 gsm) and doodle (see free art book download). Splash paint on it using free and easy brushstrokes to loosening up your brushstrokes and your hand. Don’t start with a pencil synopsis. And don’t take yourself or your painting seriously, have fun, do your thing: Tell yourself this is a tree and this is grass, or whatever that doesn’t require neat detail. This exercise prevents you from painting stiff precise neat parlour paintings (a sign of an amateur). Your want to encourage and put style into your commission or project for the day.
  • If you are still not in the mood, first peruse other artist’s work you admire. When you see the beautiful work they do, it inspires you, lifts your ego, etc. This requires collecting copies of their work, either from their art books or downloading them from the internet. Whatever you do, don’t copy every detail of their paintings.
  • Even though you plan your composition and procedures, don’t expect things to turn out just as you first envisioned it. Let the spirit of inspiration flow as you work.

Creative style:

  • Every brush stroke has a shape: The shape and size of your brush must suit the area your wish to cover. That is: Big brush for big areas. Square tipped brushes for square shapes. Round tipped filbert brushes for round shapes.
  • Brushstrokes are like shorthand. Word-for-word, squiggle, dot-and-dash! So every brush stroke talks for itself and tells a story.
  • Pronunciation: How you express yourself in speech, is the same in painting. Some things are said loudly (contrast of colours), bold statements (with darker tones). And other things are said softly (with lighter tones) and mysteries are whispered (eg: blurred misty scenes), etc.
  • Different combinations of colour express different moods. `Dead pan’ boring paintings are painted in similar tones and cold colours.
  • Assess each situation and go with the flow of things. You maybe the producer (like a stage production) but the character’s personalities take over and you must know how to monitor their performance and the production to its success.
  • Painting with watercolours requires patience. Basically you work in stages. Apply, watch and wait: timing each application according to conditions. You can’t force the `actors’, you need to thoughtfully `persuade’ them. Only assist and tilt paper when necessary. And sometimes the ‘actors’ show you a better way of doing it!

 Always keep your washes fresh and transparent as possible:

  • If you want professional results, buy and use only artist’s quality watercolour pigments. Cheap opaque paints don’t give you the same special effects.
  • The less coats you have, and the less pigments (primary colours) involved in your mixtures, the more translucent your painting.
  • Generally speaking, use warm undercoats and reserve cool colours for your topcoats.
  • Where possible use analogous colours if more than one coat of paint is required.
  • Check the hue, tone and intensity strength of your colour against the white of your palette before applying your brush to your paper.

Here are some examples of two pigment mixtures:

Have fun experimenting with your own stock of paints. You don’t know what you can create until you try things out for yourself.

Creative mixtures of two pigments

Swatches of two pigment mixtures.

Last word on the topic creative secrets:

Secrets are no longer secret, when researched on facts. Experiment with what you have learnt, until you have mastered the techniques. Then the technique secret becomes yours to expand on and magnify as you wish. Inventors create new inventions by mingling and using old facts!

Empower Your Creative Energy

Creative Power:

Determine where your creative energy lies.

  • Getting to know yourself and where your passion lies.
  • To be creative it’s important to see the world through new eyes.
  • How to respond to unexpected occurrences
  • And what energy you are using when painting!
Creative power & energy

A2 watercolour: Bouquet of lilies and wild flowers: This painting was a process of the mind,.One impression lead to another in the making of this watercolour.

People want dynamic solutions:

When actually in fact the answer is so simple ….that they don’t recognize the power lurking within the given advice. They read so fast that they miss the full meaning of what they have just read.

`It takes a wise and successful man to savour what he has read or heard’

 Capturing a vision:

Can’t decide what to paint for your next painting? Something that will be appealing, electrifying, dramatic enough, that people will want to buy it?

How to find that special scene? It’s a state of mind, opening your mind to all possibilities. It starts with drawing on your inner awareness, really seeing and deeply observing your surroundings. When you get excited about what you are looking at, that’s when you know where your energy lies.

 How people see things:

  • Right-brain aptitude: Most people see everything as objects. For instance “That’s a man, that’s a car”, etc. What they are actually doing is recognizing each object has a symbolic shape and colour. Like the moon is round, the sky is blue, the grass and trees are green, etc.
  • Left-brain aptitude: Artists on the other hand, don’t only see basic mass shapes, but they are also attracted to the emotional, moody atmospheric dimensions of what they see.

Seeing the world through new eyes:

Been creative means looking at life through different eyes, how you perceive and react to what’s actually happening around you.

Students have told me after a few lessons, they’ve started see the world differently. They saw colours they never saw before. Their world became an exciting vibrant place. Everything comes alive, looks so beautiful and fascinating.

 Sensitivity of the spirit:

Because artists know they can’t re-capture things perfectly as God created things, they resort to using suggestion. That is, creating an illusion of reality. And how do we do that?

We turn to using our inner spirit and see things through romantic eyes. Using all our senses to tune in to the mood, energy and vibes of what we see. Like seeing auras surrounding shapes and the intensity of colour in shadows, etc.

In plain language, artists live on a high of emotion to look beyond reality and fantasize. Re-arranging things to suit their abilities, assessing what they can eliminate or keep in their compositions before and during painting.

 But things don’t always turn out the way we expect:

If things don’t turn out the way you intend, it’s logical that you’ll have to change your original perception and adapt to circumstances. Especially with watercolours, you have to go with the flow and let the idiosyncrasy of watercolour constitutions work for you.

As the problem arises you’ll ask yourself, “What should I do now with the situation?” This requires:

  • Basically knowing the principles of composition. How to adjust objects and negative space so they relate better with each other in your composition.
  • Considering what colours you have already on your paper and how additional colours will be layered. If for example the area is already blue, but it needs to be green, that means you’ll need to add a little yellow as a wash. And it isn’t advisable adding complementary colours if you wish to keep the colours fresh.
  • Also knowing the constitutions of your pigments, whether they are transparent, opaque, earthy or grainy. And how they will interact, interlace, merge and blend to make special effects.

 Focusing your energy:

No one paints masterpieces when they are tense or tired. So how do you cope and work at your full potential?

The best way is to consider and assess your energy levels:

  • When do you have the most vitality?
  • When are your tired? In the evening?
  • When is your mind fresh? Early in the morning?
  • When are you relaxed, with peace and quiet?
  • When are you possibly alone to paint?
  • Can you re-organize your schedule, to make time to paint?

Find your passion, find your energy power:

Get to know yourself. What type of music do you like, that puts passion in your heart? What combination of colours that gets your creative `juices’ moving? What do you generally look for when you select something to paint?

  • Is it a special dramatic effect?
  • The blurring of action?
  • Gradation of colours?
  • Dynamic dramatic contrasts?
  • What? Whatever it is, that is the basis of you creative power.

Here comes the ultimate WOW Aaah-moment, when you realize where your crucial creative power really lies:

 LIVE WITHIN THE MOMENT OF CREATING. In the pure joy of the moment!

That is a powerful statement. Think deeply about it.

 Creating in the moment:

Creative power lies in switching off all your worldly cares, leaving behind the harsh reality of the world. And think and breathe only art.

Concentrating only what you are painting, in that moment. Feel the moment. Treasure what’s happening. It is your creation. You have the power to paint whatever you like.

 Your personal time warp:

Consider each painting a special event in a time warp. And that you are creating another dimension of time and space. You are capturing a capsule of time, and atmospheric conditions of a fanciful place. It’s your world, your vision, your dimension of space and form. Blotting out everything else, even negativity!

You could say: you are the stage production manager. You are directing procedures and planning maneuvers of the characteristics on the stage of your paper. No one else, YOU and the POWER you wield, to change things if you want to, to do and paint as YOU please.

Conclusion: The state of your mind is as important as the painting you are painting. Your energy, joy, self-actualization, is what brings out creative power.

If you want to know more, here are some links on this website you may want to see too:

Can women be prolific renowned artists?

Why choose this topic?

I’ve always wanted to let woman know they have every right to be accepted as renowned artists. In fact women use more of their left-brain than men, so they have more intuitive sensitivity to assess situations quicker.

women artists

So can women make it?   Yes!  …. By listing their priorities and making time to succeed.

Often you hear women say, “But I haven’t time to paint!”.

Make time to paint! If you don’t make time for yourself, others are quite willing to keep you busy!

Schedules are not everybody’s `cup of tea’. I hate been restricted by ever re-occurring duties, doing it the same way, same time, every day. But working out a time budget and making a list of things you need to do next, helps to keep you focused.

 “But our families are so demanding”.

Yes I know. You have a job and you’re tired at the end of the day. And if you have babies, you still have to keep house and see to the needs of the rest of the family. And families aren’t very encouraging. They don’t think what you do is important. Painting to them is playing, a waste of (their) time! But to you it’s your life’s blood, the thing that keeps you sane in times of madness.

You know your family and what their needs are and what possible hitches to your schedule could occur in any given day. And work out possible alternative contingency plans. It’s a fact that women can do more things at a time than men.

So now you’re wondering: That’s easy to say, but how did Ada cope?

As my history has been briefly stated on my “About the artist” page, I had five children.

I was grateful I had any children at all. At first I used my talent to embroider motifs and slick fun patches on their clothes. By the time our third child was two I had started doing copper-work and painting in oils. I sold my art at a small picture shop in Durban.

While at my parents’ home in the Drakensburg, I would paint berg scenes while the children played in the brooks. When we went down the south coast of Natal, I painted seascapes while my husband fished and the children swam in the tidal pools. When the three eldest children were on holiday from school, I would prepare food, biscuits, etc and put it in containers and in the fridge, so they could help themselves anytime of the day when they felt hungry.

By the time the last two children arrived there had been a gap of ten years and the eldest was working away from home and we were living on a ten-acre plot. While the children were at school and hubby at work, I found time to continue doing research, painting and teaching art in the mornings. The people who came for art lessons came from all walks of life, even an art TV presenter at one time. His art was eerie though, he showed God as a disembodied face in outer space!

I learnt the best way to get things done in your day is to work according to your energy levels. It was easier to `do my thing’ in the mornings after a good night’s rest. I reserved the afternoons for the children and the evenings for my husband. I heard years ago of a woman who had eight children and lived in Italy, her best time was to paint in the evenings, I’m presuming after the children were all asleep!

Opposition in all things:

Accepting challenges opens up opportunities, new perceptions and practices.

Of cause things weren’t always easy to accomplish because we started living on the plot without a house to live in.  I drew the building plans, just the basics, no cupboards, art studio or outbuildings at first. I had to stay at home because of theft. In between painting (when one loses concentration) I would do housework, and see to gardening, the chickens, cattle, etc., no matter what the weather. Once, the hail came down as big as cotton reels while I was herding small calves back into their improvised shelters.

On Fridays I would travel into Johannesburg to teach art, slept over and do demos at galleries on Saturdays. At one time I packed my art things into our vehicle at four thirty on winter mornings to do demos at one of the venues. To cope, I listened to taped music as I travelled between home and assignments, and home again to make dinner.

Country milieus are inspiring though. It was great to listen to birds singing, see wild flowers waving in the breeze, cattle meandering in the velt (glasslands), hawks soaring high as majestic storms brew, filtering strange light after the storm, etc.  The break refreshes your consciousness and imaginative powers. So that when you get back to painting you are able to assess its faults and or potential.

The secret:

Don’t expect too much of yourself or your family. There does come a time when the family want your paintings to hang in their homes, when they get married!  Through your steadfast perseverance others realize success is possible.

Seeing the world through positive eyes, staying calm and using humour are the best coping mechanisms.

The power of creativity lies within you.

Talents must be used often – if you want an increase… You are more productive when you enjoy living and working in the moment of creativity.