• Carolyn Land

How Do You Know?

“The act of creation is a kind of ritual.  The origins of art and human experience lie hidden in this mystery of creation. Human creativity re-affirms and mystifies the power of life.”                               Keith Haring

I received an e-mail this week with a question: “You do so many different things, how do you decide what medium you are going to work with? Do you plan, ahead of time, what you are going to do?”

Yes, sometimes I do plan.  That is because sometimes I need to get ready for a certain class or demo, or I need to finish the demo I started in the previous class.  Other times I need a certain kind, or size, of work for a project, and know which medium will work best for it.  However, sometimes there is no plan. I walk into the studio,  see some supplies on the table or shelf, and they say; “make something out of me.”

pastels painting titled life force on the tomoka river by artist carolyn land

Life Force  Tomoka River 


What I can share is how my mindset starts. I look at something, I really see it, I feel it, and I create from the feeling I get. It is usually a pastel painting, capturing that moment in time, that I want to remember. When I see something that touches me, that I want to save in the memory bank, I start by doing a pastel painting, and try to capture its essence. As I enter the zone, where the painting takes over and I become lost in the work of painting a landscape, I am remembering, in my mind: the texture, the hardness, softness, the roughness, of what lies beneath or within, that landscape. Then, somewhere in my very complicated brain, I  save those thoughts, to be used later, in abstract work.

I love to garden!  If I am upset, stressed, or need time to just think, digging in the earth calms me down and puts things in perspective.   Pulling weeds is instant gratification, and the touch and feel of nature excites me.  One of the many thing I miss living in FL are rocks in the garden soil.  I love the look, feel, lines, planes, that you find in them.  Then there are roots!  The spaces and shapes they make, just get my brain going. I am fascinated by the bark on trees: its patterns, lines, texture.   So, as I paint a realistic painting, I am being transported to my tactile gardening and outdoor experiences. That’s why I love texture. It speaks to me of what lies beneath and the natural world; of its evolution and its geologic history.

Mixed Media painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

Times Bounty 2


Alternative surface painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

Times Bounty 1


Visual art is a dialogue between the creator and the viewer. There are times when one medium speaks more to an idea than another, and will express it better.  So, I am grateful for having so many options.  Sometimes I chose the dialogue to be realistic, sometimes abstract.

Each artist needs to know what gives them that spark to create.  It is why, once again, that “Artists Statement” is so important.  The serious viewer wants to know why you paint what you do.

I was painting at the HUB Saturday.  A gentleman came by and he watch me work for awhile, then said, “I don’t know where that is, but I want to pull up a chair and go sit there. It is so peaceful” I connected to that viewer and that made my day.  I shared a moment in time, about a place I love.

Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing one’s sensation”                 Paul Cezanne

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