Prince Street


Been thinking back to when I taught myself to paint 18 years ago. I’d just had a baby so any spare cash went on nappies and other infant related stuff. All I had to start with was a tiny little palette with about ten colours in it and the brush that came with it which was about 3 inches long. I recommend limited equipment to anyone who’s teaching themselves. At the time I didn’t appreciate it but it forced me to learn to mix colours (didn’t even have a black in my palette) and to use that little brush to make every single stroke from fat lines to fine detail. To learn the method, I copied paintings that I had hanging in the house, stroke for stroke, colour for colour, and it could take weeks just to finish one painting. By the end of that year though I’d have made a pretty good art forger! Tomorrow, when there’s someone around to save me from spiders, I’ll dig out all my old portfolios and see if I can find that very first painting.

Believe it or not, my toughest challenge over the years was teaching myself to paint in a naive style. My brain kept telling me to straighten things up and put them in perspective. Making things look unreal, for me anyway, was a lot harder than making them look real. Today’s painting, “Prince Street” is my first crowd scene. When I started it, as I mentioned in my previous blog, it didn’t look naive, possibly because I was (loosely) working from a photo. Once I put the photo away and let my imagination fill in the blanks, it began to take on the appearance of my usual style.

“Prince Street” By Claire Shotter. Up for auction @

Doodle and my son Ben on the windowsill of my studio. Neither, I’m afraid, are up for auction.

7 responses »

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I am self teaching currently and struggle with trying to copy “perfectly”. You’ve inspired me to relax ๐Ÿ™‚

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