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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Creative Spirit Blog June 24,2023 Oops! What was I Feeling?

"Beneath the Surface" Monoprint

“Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.” – John Olsen

We have all had paintings we have looked at and wondered “What was I thinking or not thinking”? Not every piece of art we create is going to be a masterpiece. But each piece we do is going to be a learning experience.

When we get out of our head and get in the zone we paint with our heart. That’s when our art should be at its finest point because it reflects our deepest feelings. It gives our art the personal touch that touches others. But what happens when what comes out turns out to be something we do not like, we do not think it is good, or we do not want to share it because it is too personal?

Then, I think it is time to analyze what is going on in us…to check in with our inner being. Sometimes the art we produce is good, and we just don’t like it because it reflects a feeling, we are not happy about or comfortable with. Other times it’s very reflective of our emotions and just needs some compositional tweaking. This is when it’s good to put it way and come back later. The creation also could have just been a therapeutic experience. Catharsis at its finest!

I have several of those from my journey through cancer. I am glad I had that outlet. I am glad I also saved them. Looking at them now, I see some interesting passages in them, but they need to be compositionally refined. Quieted down! The creative process needs to be a combination of the unconscious and the conscious.

It’s great when we get in the zone and produce from our inner being. But when we are done, we need to remember to go back and look at the composition to be sure it says what we want it to say. Does it have a center of interest? Does it have three values? Are there passages that move the viewer around so that they are not stuck in one area? Do the colors harmonize? Is it balanced? Most of the time there are only minor changes to be made. Other times it could be a total redo from a compositional standpoint. But remember that these are not failed paintings. They are steppingstones.

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown, known is the important thing.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

After having been away from some of these cathartic works for some time, I can see possibilities. I can see ways to make the composition stronger without destroying the inner story I was telling.

So many people ask how long does it take to do a painting? Well sometimes it takes a few hours, and others take years.

“One does not arrive in words or art - necessarily knowing where one is going.” Ann Hamilton

Our art is hours of mistakes and experimentation, frustration and pure joy. It is our heart and soul. It’s our personal story. It is not right or wrong. But if we are not comfortable with what we did, it might just need compositional tweaking to make it a stronger statement. Just keep creating and telling your story. Carolyn

1 Comment

Ginger Bayer
Ginger Bayer
Jul 03, 2023

Carolyn, As much as I love your work, Beneath the Surface, bothers me, it is dark and upsetting. i can see you doing that going thru your cancer treatments. It is I am sure how I would feel in the place you were, Thank goodness you are on the other side. I still love Adaptation. G

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