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Whimsical Lion Painting From Start To Finish

MYSTERY. 11 x 14″ on canvas. (SOLD)
Click here to see the original paintings available in my shop.


Lately, I’ve been painting so many owls that I started to feel bored with my artwork.

I tried to paint something new with this piece. And that’s what made me almost stop painting all together.

Often when I step out of my comfort zone and try something new, I quickly get frustrated. I expect that new thing to be perfect right away. I think it should fall into place just as before.

But that doesn’t happen.

It takes figuring out what I like again and getting rid of the parts I don’t like before I even begin to get close to something new that can propel me forward.

That’s the only way I can really continue to develop my style.

For this lion, I tried out new colors like a bold cadmium yellow background, using an oil paintstick.

When I couldn’t stand the yellow, I wanted to cover up the entire painting with white paint. But I stopped myself.

I’ve realized that sometimes I hold myself back when I get too uncomfortable with my artwork and just go back to painting the same way I did before.

So instead, I took a step back and looked at what I liked and what I didn’t like in the painting. I found that I actually loved the color on the body, so I knew I should keep that and do more. The bits of color left in the lion’s mane also made me happy, so I kept those too.

Then I knew I wanted to cover up the yellow, so I did it with my favorite color blue, redefining the lion’s mane as I went and keeping all of the bright colored bits I loved so much.

I titled this painting as a reminder that sometimes the most meaning can be found in those moments I most resist.

I hope this post inspires you to step out of your comfort zone and keep creating. Of course, if you have your own tips or tricks to share on letting go and getting over creative blocks — I’d love to hear that too! I will be sure to look for your comments and suggestions in the comments of this post.

Happy painting!

Juliette Crane

Ps. I share lots of whimsical animal painting projects like this one in my How To Create Whimsical Animals online class.

Click here to watch a few painting videos and see details on all of my ongoing, instant access online painting classes.

Thank you for all of your enthusiasm and support for my new Big Monster Picture Book and Coloring Book.

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  1. Hi Juliette,

    Thanks so much for your post! I’m still struggling to define my own unique voice. When I get stuck, I always want to run back to what I see someone else doing! I love how you talked about finding what you love in the painting and keeping those parts, then moving forward toward something new. I am so grateful to the beauty you bring into the world!

    With love and gratitude,

  2. Hi Tara- Thank you so much for your sweet words. I am so glad this post was inspiring to you. If I ever start looking at what someone else is doing, it makes me so much more stuck (and unhappy with my own work). I used to have “inspiration” from others up in my studio, but it completely paralyzed me and kept me from defining my own voice. now i’ll browse favorite artists on social media once in a while (but away from my studio), and just let the images soak into my subconscious. instead at looking at a single piece and feeling it’s so much greater than anything i could do, i look at what i am most stunned by… the maroon shading around the eyes or a blue beside hot pink drips… then that’s what i try and remember to add when i get back into my studio 🙂 happy painting! xo

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