• Carolyn Land

“Alive” in the Studio

“Art is creative for the sake of realization, not for amusement: for transfiguration, not for the sake of play.  It is the quest of our self that drives us along the eternal and never-ending journey we all must make.”                    Max Beckmann

The Beauty Within 16x20. Textural art by Carolyn Land

The Beauty Within”                 Textured Surface


There are things when we paint that amaze us and make us feel alive.  This happens when we can relax our inner controls, and reach the spot of “free creativity.” If we are too rigid, dogmatic, or become bound by rules or exactness, or feel we must follow the herd, we will never let ourselves be aware of the wonderful knowledge that resides within us.   The knowledge that resides on another level of our being…the “unconscious” level.

We all have that spot of “free creativity”, but to get there we have to deal with the anxiety caused by rigid standards we set for ourselves; or that have been instilled in us, by  parents, teachers, or role models that were controlling, detailed, analytic, or themselves too structured. Getting beyond the conscience mind can free us up. We just have to give up some of the things that we cling to most rigidly in our conscience thinking. The, “but, I have always done it that way” or “that’s how I was taught”,  attitude.

There are all kinds of self help books, courses, and therapists that will help people  find their unconscious self,  but the bottom line is we have to want to get there.  It is a commitment we make to open up our mind to new experiences, and deal with the anxiety we know it will cause because, things can be different than what we learned or thought we knew.

Many view the unconscious as a mysterious place where the things we want to forget reside. That may be true.  But, the more in touch we get with it, the more heightened our awareness will become and our sensory processes.  Simply put, opening our mind to something new and letting go of some old thought processes, will free up our creativity, and open our minds to new experiences that make us feel alive.

This state of “free creativity”, which allows us to have the “aha moments”, is not just a thing for artists. It happens in all areas of life, and has happened throughout history.  From the discovery of fire, to the invention of the wheel, to the exploration of outer-space, we have had people who harnessed their “free creativity” and made new discoveries.  We need to allow ourselves the pleasure of being “Alive” in our studios or in life, in a state of “free creativity” when we need to be.

I am usually good at this. But this weekend I could not harness my “celebrate life and nature free creativity”.  I should have gone to the garden to get rid of my angst, but there was not enough gardening to help the pain I felt for our country.  I wound up destroying everything I started, and wound up with an interesting structure, in a void space, with a large cancer hanging off it, and not being held together very well.   It is going to need a lot of creative repair work before it is an acceptable painting I want to put my name to.

Some of my students on the other hand had more success by exploring  some interesting new mediums and styles.

Paula Pascucci                                  Cold Wax


Paula Pascucci     New approach to her Pastel Work


Janice Rous                                  Mixed Media


Ginger Bayer                        Collage


Donna Bradly    Photo Mounted into Oil Painting


Margaret Billups                                Watercolor


Stay safe, healthy, and create!  Carolyn

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