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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Be Open to Who You Are

“It’s when you have found out how to do a certain thing, that its time to stop doing them, because what’s missing is that you are not  including the risk.  The fact is risk is essential to me”    Robert Rauschenberg

In the last blog on “Over Thinking”, I mentioned some of the reasons we over think and keep ourselves going around in circles.

  1. Not knowing our materials.

  2. Using the wrong materials for what we want to say.

  3. Not having an idea of what we want to communicate to the viewer.

  4. Using the wrong palette.

However, there is one other big reason, and that is not being open to the mystery that can happen between the basic plan or idea, and the completion of a piece. It is the obsessive compulsive…I must get this right! There is no real right! 

Yes, there are all kinds of rules for a good composition: where your center of interest should be, harmonious color schemes, and ways to achieve the “Principles of Good Design”.   But with a minimal amount of pre-planning, good reference material, or a solid idea of what you want to say, they will all fall into place, if we let go and let the inner artist take over.

Pastel painting

Peaceful Morn               Pastel  over Watercolor

Art making is a creative endeavor.  So, if we are obsessing over something, we have lost the creative spirit! It is admirable to want to be a good draftsman if we are  realistic painters. But we as the creator of that painting, need to bring something unique to it, in order to make it more than a copy of our reference material. It usually comes when we lose ourselves in the process.

Pastel Painting

Beauty of Nature  Pastel

We all have a style which is uniquely our own.  Think back to that second-grade class, back when they taught cursive writing!  We all had to make our cursive letters in the same size blue or green lines, depending if we were using yellow practice paper or good white paper. We all had to slant our letters to the right, and everyone’s page pretty much looked the same. Now look at your signature.  It’s uniquely yours, having very few remnants of 2nd grade cursive writing.  We stopped thinking about staying between the lines and whether we had the little tail on the end of a, or the upturn on the y and where we crossed the x.  We carved out our own unique signature.  It is the same with creating a work of art.  We learn the basics…what our medium of choice can do, we get an idea, we lay in the big shapes, and we let the magic happen. It may not be the same as the idea in our head or what we thought we wanted to do, but we must embrace that!

So often we admire something, and it becomes our goal to do just that. But that may not be who we are.  Our brains bend and blend existing ideas to come up with something new, new forms, new ways of doing things.  That’s the creative process.  We need to be open to the mystery that is inside us.  Let our own style emerge.  Embrace our uniqueness.

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