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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Creative Spirit Blog April 11,2024 Growing as an Artist

"Streambed" Mixed Media

“Our heads are round so thought can change direction.” Francis Picabia  (French painter)

I laughed out loud when I read this quote!  But it sums up a lot about growing.  Trying to create something truly innovative requires us to be flexible.  If we want to grow, we need to be open to new ideas.  To be willing to try new things and sometimes change directions.

What does it mean to grow as an artist?  It means finding new ways to continue and expand our thought process.  We grow when we learn new things, when we are open to new ways of doing things. When we allow our thinking process to evolve over time.

Times change and styles change.  We change our wardrobe, we change our hair style, our eating habits, and we freshen up our house decor. Change is just a part of life.  So, it should be with our art. We master a skill and then add another and another, and then we build on each thereby finding new and innovated ways of doing things,

One of he first things we must do to grow as artists is to be good observers.  Look at things, situations, and subjects that interest us.  Learn to really see them.  Observe the colors, textures, lines, and shapes of the things around us. See how they interplay with each other. Think about what things really hold our interest and how we respond to them.

When we try on a pair of shoes, we want them to fit.  Well, the arts are sort of the same. What we choose to do has to fit.  It must fit our personality and our interests. Motivation comes from something that attracts us.  We need to figure out what that is to be successful. Work with what you love, with what you want to express.


For example, if you are a people person you might want to work with that subject. There are so many ways you can depict the human form: charcoal drawing, pencil drawing, watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, as individual figures, figures in scenes, figures in movement, abstracted figures, college figures, sculpted figures, using clay, wood, metal, paper, wire.  What is going to tell your story best?  Can you use more than one medium? How is color going to affect your story? Find a subject that has meaning to you, work with it, experiment with different methods of depicting it and relating the meaning it has for you.

Another way to grow is to look at other artists’ art.  Study their work. What do we like, what don’t we like?  Look at the masters in the field we are interested in and read why their work has survived the test of time.  Study their composition and use of color.

Great art happens when inspiration meets effort.  We must do and do regularly if we want to get someplace. We grow by taking action! And we should never devalue our efforts and never be afraid of failing.  It is how we learn.  If something doesn’t work, we need to try doing it a different way.   The only way to grow, the only way to continue to get better and become more innovative, is to get a bit uncomfortable. Our heads are round so we can change directions!  😊

We, as artists, need to find empowered action through new things that we learn and see. We also need to learn to let go and enjoy the journey. We should make art without expectation, because this is usually when the best things happen. It allows our unique inner self to surface.

Happy Creating! Carolyn


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