View Full Version : What Are Your Strengths?

02-26-2004, 09:27 PM
Sometimes, I think we focus on the negative part of our work in pastels and forget to rely on our strengths. For example, Dawn continually tells us she cannot "do" green- yet she turns out the most marvelous little gems either full of greens, or faking it so well, we're all dumbfounded at how she did it. For me, what I've noticed lately is that I can generally take seemingly any piece- a third, a quarter, an eighth- of a painting, and STILL like the composition. I dunno if that's a strength, or not, but I kinda like that idea.

What do you consider your strength in this medium?

Kathryn Wilson
02-26-2004, 10:10 PM
Man, what a question to ponder after I just tried another OP. They certainly are not my forte - but working on it - :D

I think landscapes - specifically color - enjoying some plein aire. I think I can draw reasonably well.

Good question!

Stoy Jones
02-26-2004, 10:26 PM
I'd have to say I'm good at drawing and painting my noses too big..Lol! Honestly, I agree this is a good question and I don't really know. I have seen an improvement in my work overall, if I set my pieces side by side and compare. I can't pinpoint any one detail I do best in each portrait I do, however I have been impressed with how I managed the eyes of my subjects lately. So I would have to say my strength is generally my improving on my understanding of what I'm looking at and trying to paint.


02-26-2004, 11:54 PM
What a great question, SBJ. I'd have to say that my strength is in blending (or at least what I take the most pleasure in doing!). And also correcting mistakes. This medium is so conducive to doing that, and that's why I love it!

02-27-2004, 12:20 AM
It's infrequent that we get to say what we think we are good at. It seems so... arrogant at times and yet I think you are absolutely correct in asking us - sometimes we need to reflect.

I think I'm good at portraits and gaining a likeness - though I don't always capture the emotion. I also love to find all the colors in things and exagerate it. In that sense I like color and it likes me so I guess it's a strength.

Thanks for asking.


02-27-2004, 12:58 AM
Kat- I think you're right- you have a great touch with landscapes. You're also allowing yourself to have a bit more fun with it now, I think? Confidence does that.

Stoy, your portraits are getting seriously good- seriously. I think perhaps you are not afraid anymore.

Eileen, you're right, you produce wonderfully smooth skin- pretty, nearly glowing skin that gives all of your portraits a soft, but solid look.

Barb, I've watched your portraits go from good to superb- you are fearless with colour. I'm always amazed at how you can throw a smudge of blue in along a jawline and it looks *right*. I enjoy your work.

Kathryn Day
02-27-2004, 01:06 AM
Right now I think my strength is my enthusiasm and exploration of color in this great pastel medium. I have a lot to learn but feel best about my overall sense of really enjoying the journey and playing with color. Thanks for bringing this up, really had to think about it!!!

02-27-2004, 01:20 AM
I think my strengths is that I feel I can capture softness with pastel, and I love doing animal subjects, so I particularly love when I think I've captured a little fluff on a bird, or fur you want to reach out and touch on another animal.

I love using layers of color to make colors I don't have, and blending all kinds of colors together, too, although I can't say whether I'm good at it or not, it just feels good!

This is a neat subject, I could definitely go much longer on what I'm NOT good at!

Deborah Secor
02-27-2004, 10:48 AM
Real humility means honestly evaluating yourself, knowing what are your weaknesses and strengths. It's what I try to encourage people to do in my class critiques. We need to be honest without tearing ourselves down. (Why are we often our own worst critic?!)

One of my strengths is teaching.

One of your strengths, Julie, is encouragement! Thanks.


02-27-2004, 11:01 AM
The lesson for me I take from painting in general is:

Never give up
There are always new ways
You can always start again
there is no boredom in nature and the world

So I consider my main strenght is to continue and to look for development
in my work and not to loose curiosity.

As there are so many levels of artistic skills it makes no sense to me to
make statements like: I am good in painting skies and bad in painting water etc.
Everything is so relative..


02-27-2004, 03:26 PM
Hey, what a cool question! And good of you to remind people to look for their strengths. I'd say mine is twofold right now...the ability to see a bit more than is obviously there regarding emotion and mood and being brave enough to try new ways of showing that, despite the fear of flying and falling complex I have lol!

02-27-2004, 03:32 PM
This isn't meant as a "brag" but I once won a Best in Show from a prestigious local artist who said in part in his newspaper interview about the show that what he liked about my two entries (BOS and a second place) was that the joy I took in painting showed so clearly. I was so happy with that assessment because art IS a joy to me.

My weakness lies in feeling a bit guilty for not doing something more grim like cleaning toilets when I'm playing with my paints and pastels. My strength, I THINK, lies in knowing it's the journey that counts and not the destination. The end result is just the icing on the proverbial cake. Also, I never feel bad about having plenty yet to learn. If I ever learned it all, I'd be bored in nothing flat.

02-27-2004, 04:33 PM
What do you consider your strength in this medium?

I think my strength comes in attaining a likeness in my subjects. I will strive to make my piece look like the person or animal I'm drawing if it kills me, LOL! I've always had an eye for detail, so I think that's what makes me more proficient in that area.

I'm really just beginning to explore pastels, so this is fairly new to me, but I'm enjoying it. My next hurdle will be watercolors & doing portraits with them. I just love art, that's all, and I strive to be better & better at it.

02-27-2004, 05:50 PM
Well here is something that goes against what society teaches us. In the job interview the other day, they asked me for 5 strengths. I could only give them 2, because it's something I never think about. I mean I know I have more than 2 strengths, but I never think about them.

My strength in this medium so far is my patience with oil pastels. :rolleyes:
My strength in art is definitely my ability to look at picture and see so many colors. You know a little red hear, some lavender, I think that's pink, and so so forth.

I know all of you have this strength. Everyone of you can paint what you see, instead of painting what your mind tells you that you see.

02-27-2004, 06:11 PM
Wow what a question! Mmmmmmmmmmm....

I don't think I have any strengths as such but I'm learning all the time both on my own working and here in this forum.

One thing I do, but I'm not sure if its a strength, when I 'think' I've finished a picture I put it up above the fire and look at it for about a week and then ask jasmine what she thinks... She studies it with me, and only if we agree, I change it...


02-27-2004, 07:24 PM
Hmmmm....why is it so hard for us to know and state what our strengths are?
I think one of my strengths and also a weakness at times is my stubborness...grim determination to keep plodding away to get it right...or at least make it better. It is a good way to learn. It also can be a good way to overwork something.
Good thread...interesting to read what people say.


02-27-2004, 08:14 PM
A good strength to have, Katy- it'll keep you exploring the world around you.

Artdudette, being able to work with colour is, perhaps, the best skill to have innately. It's one I don't possess *intuitively*, so I am in awe of those who do.

I agree, Deb, you're a good teacher. You explain things clearly, and without a sense of "judgement". Plus, you apparently like amphibians, so you can't be all bad....

Martin, your joy for self-expression comes through in your work- it's clear to see you not only find a challenge in each piece, but a solution, too.

I think so, too, Sue- you seem very able to capture an emotive tone in your work which makes people stop and look- and then look again. To me, that is the hallmark of fine art.

Khadres, if you're not happy with what you're doing, you're wasting your time and energy. Being able to express that happiness in your work is most probably the true gift of having a talent in the first place.

Capturing a likeness is difficult- it depends upon concentrated observation without interpretation. That's a great strength for a protraitist to have, M4x.

Patience- ahhh, Skintone- you've got a good one there! Too often we quit in disgust because of what we cannot do, without looking at what we can....

C'mon Lozz- this wasn't a question to duck out of. Obviously *something* makes you think you can do this- tell me, what is that something?

I would that I had your stubbornness, Sandy- I'd've given up in the early stages of so many pieces which you stuck with, and brought out as beautiful. I admire that.

I thought of one more today whilst trying to "do" roses sans roses: I am able to look at something I drew and say "That's not right." Sometimes, I'm even able to see WHY that's not right- but that's a strength I am still- and hopefully will always be- working on.

02-27-2004, 08:24 PM
SBJ...your strength also, is the ability to draw out the positive aspects of people and their work. I would love to see you use this with a pastel project...I think you would bring out a lot of really good efforts that people hadn't even realized they were capable of yet. Hope you stick around this forum for a long time...you bring a lot of good,thought-provoking ideas and also those lovely out-of-your-head landscape and still life pieces!

02-27-2004, 08:37 PM
Wow what a question! Mmmmmmmmmmm....

I don't think I have any strengths as such but I'm learning all the time both on my own working and here in this forum.

One thing I do, but I'm not sure if its a strength, when I 'think' I've finished a picture I put it up above the fire and look at it for about a week and then ask jasmine what she thinks... She studies it with me, and only if we agree, I change it...


Hee! I love it! I'd say you definitely DO have at least a couple of strengths that I've already seen! Determination and desire to excel....and you're already most of the way there with wealth and fame just around the next corner? Satisfaction...you're already enjoying THAT, aren't ya?

BTW....are there some pretty scurvy lookin' dogs on the bottom of this post? If not, I'm going to tear what's left of my hair out!

02-27-2004, 10:09 PM
My stengths are....Dimension, being able to paint depth and dimension into a painting....Determination, never letting anything get in the way of reaching my goal once I set it....Patience, unlimited amounts of patience with any or all of my artistic work....Diversity, I can apply myself to any subject and any medium....Sharing, I share what little knowledge I have freely with any one that wants it....Goals, always pushing my ability to a higher level....Never accepting that I cant do it.

My weaknesses are....Composition, rather avoid it if possible....Drawing, I can do it but I hate wasting time doing it....Commissions, I will do anything to avoid doing them....Backgrounds, I hate painting them and will avoid them if possible....Enthusiasm, I just dont have that passionate drive to acheive anymore....Procrastination, it's a killer sometimes, I just cant get started....Overworking, I have to keep focused so I dont overwork the painting and know when to stop....Wasting time, too much valuable time is wasted and nothing is gained.

I will keep developing my strenghts and I can accept my weaknesses or I can work on them........Gaka

Tom Christopher
02-27-2004, 11:57 PM
How is it I can come up with all kinds of weaknesses and only a couple strengths? I do feel I have a good sense of color and light and how they can increase drama and interest in painting. I also have a never give-up attitude which sometimes can be difficult as I tend to obsess over unfinished work. I will not go into my weaknesses, as there are way too many . Tom

02-28-2004, 10:58 AM
Ummm ........ Ummmm ..... :rolleyes: Im still thinking on this one lol

02-28-2004, 11:42 AM
Hey Khadres! No putting words in Lozz's fingers! :p :p :D *WE* may see those strengths; he may not. Besides, *shrug*, this is something everyone needs to think about- it'll help when nothing seems to be going right....

I'm impressed at how you know and accept your strengths so readily, Gaka; the mark of a healthy spirit there. No wonder your work is so breathtaking.

Gotta agree, Tom, you manage to pack a lot of ephereal qualities into a piece using just those attributes. Your style is instantly recognizable, and often envied.

Don't even go there, Dawn- you're being bad again. : :evil: :D :angel:
It's too easy to always say what is *wrong* with our talent and abilities, to dwell on weaknesses- we all know you'd not be able to turn out such shining gems if you didn't have strengths. So- spill- what's your secret...?

02-28-2004, 01:03 PM
Dawn, such modesty. Very unlike you!! :P ;) :D What about the way you've developed your use of colour, especially in your portraits? It's really intuitive and exciting and people always respond to it. You also produce a LOT of art!! My weakness is procrastination. I am capable of amazing myself but I waste so much time working up to the point of actually putting pastel to paper.

Why is it so much easier to identify other people's strengths than our own??

I would say my strength is in always attempting new subjects and not limiting myself to only still life, only landscapes, only portraits or whatever. I have only done a handful of landscapes but I wouldn't want to define myself as "not a landscape painter" because hey, who knows, I might amaze myself and paint a great one tomorrow!

Good question SBJ.

02-28-2004, 01:51 PM

Lozz, isn't Jasmine your cat?

02-28-2004, 02:53 PM
Oh, I thought that furry creature in the photo WAS lozz ... 'Damn talented for a cat', I was thinking ... I figured Jasmine must be the one who posts the work. Since cats can't type. :D

02-28-2004, 02:53 PM
Don't even go there, Dawn- you're being bad again. : :evil: :D :angel:
It's too easy to always say what is *wrong* with our talent and abilities, to dwell on weaknesses- we all know you'd not be able to turn out such shining gems if you didn't have strengths. So- spill- what's your secret...?

Who ?? .... Moi?? .. :confused: ...... nah, never lol, ...... Im like that little girl.... with the little curl, in the middle of her forehead.......
when she was bad, she was very very bad,
when she was good, she was really really horrid :evil: ha ha ha

Ok..... Im still finking :D

02-28-2004, 06:35 PM
Fink faster... hahaha!!

02-29-2004, 02:31 PM
Ok..... after alot of discussion......... debate... it has been decided ......

that .........


............... that ......

......... I am............

just SO GOOD!!!


02-29-2004, 03:13 PM
I was warned not to believe everything I see on the internet ... this just confirms it! :D LOLOL

02-29-2004, 03:38 PM
HaHa! Dark-Shades.

Strengths, Well, lets see......I can sling a bale of hay over the fence without getting any bits in my eye! HaHa! ;)

I love drawing hairy beasts!

Heather :D

02-29-2004, 03:48 PM
yep...gotta watch those flashing halos...very Las Vegasy....snork! Hey, Dawn...since you're so goooooood....why don't you try to catch that emotion in the self portrait project?????

Dyin...the opposite of flashing halos... :evil:

02-29-2004, 04:26 PM
"She finks, therefore, she scams...."

Dawn, you are decidedly "THAT good" in lots of areas. I'd love to have you do a piece stopping every 20 minutes or so to take a pic so we can see exactly how you pull these little gems off.

Being able to capture the likeness of an animal is no small task, Heather- enjoying it a plus. As for slinging haybales- "It's always fun 'till someone loses an eye...."

You're right, EJ, to be able to always try something new, not be locked into any certain subject or style, is a wonderful strength. To be able to pull them all off with such seeming ease, is what makes you an artist.

02-29-2004, 04:26 PM
Good question. Its true, we tend to focus on weaknesses.
Why do I do pastels?
I have only just got around to them...I was put off by the mess before.

I just love the directness of the pure pigment. I love the way it is easy to correct mistakes. I love the effects..so wonderful. I am seduced by them. And because I was a pavement artist when was 5 to about 11 years old, I feel pastels are a direct link to that period when I had confidence in my art ability and can tap it again.

I don't know if I'm answering this question so far. Maybe I am good at colour blending.

02-29-2004, 04:35 PM
I'm not afraid of trying new subjects (like landscapes or still life). I like to dig in to find material to learn all about it & then jump in & experiment. Not sure what else.

03-01-2004, 12:08 PM
Dawn! Behave!

;) ;) :D

Deborah Secor
03-01-2004, 05:38 PM
Dawn, I'm just so relieved that your halo is flashing on AND off...on AND off...on AND off...on AND off......I'm getting sleepy....


03-01-2004, 05:44 PM
Dawn's got a short?

Oh how nice for you, STM- to be able to tap into that sense of innocence and wonder, imagination and the idea you can do anything! A terrific strength to have.

Just the opposite, for you, Tammy- with method taking ascendancy. Your breadth of knowledge shows in your work. Never stop learning, never stop trying- for once stasis is reached, death isn't far behind.