• Carolyn Land

Liberating Your Creative Spirit

“Each painting has its own way of evolving…the painting is finished; the subject reveals itself”.                               William Baziotes

Many people have difficulty getting started.  One of the chief blocks to our “creative spirit” is the notion that we are not able to do something.  We settle for appearance instead of being authentic. Rather than let our “creative spirit” take over, we concentrate on being correct, and paint to please someone else.  This is what I was talking about in last week’s blog.

Pastel painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

Taking it All In


A student asked me this week, what was wrong with the painting of the water bird in the march? Nothing really.  The perspective was correct, technique good, coloring matched the photo reference, and from a distance it looked like a photograph.  And for me, that was the problem!  It lacked me…the artist.  It was a left-brain exercise: analytical, logical, temporal. “Polished”.  It lacked the spiritual element that would give it what I would call “artistic merit”.

Pastel Painting by Fl artist Carolyn land

Reflections


I am not knocking realism…I certainly do enough of it.  It is what we bring to the subject matter that makes it authentic and artistic. The unique brush strokes we use, or the marks we make, the innovative use of the medium, the colors we choose to suggest a mood or feeling, or the uniqueness of the subject.  The “painterlyness”.  Some things are conscience choices, others are unconscious.

Painting what we know…learned responses, instead of what we see and feel, are the things that hold our “creative spirit” back. We get too hung up on correct.   We must let the creative flow manifest itself where it will, not where we want it to be, or think it should be.

When we can’t get out of our left brain, one way to get the creative juices flowing is to doodle.  Doodling is to art, what improvisation is to music. We doodle in the moment, letting one line flow into another in a mindless sort of way.  This is a form of exploration that can jump start our artistic pursuits.

Another way is upside down drawing.  Betty Edwards, author of “Drawing on the right Side of Your Brain”, explains that by drawing something upside down, it allows us to see shapes rather that things.  It un-sticks the left-brain, and throws us into our right brain. Contour drawing is another way of getting into the creative side of our brain. Look at an object, and draw the object, never taking our pencil off the paper or looking at our paper until we are done.  Let our brain tell our hand where to go.  Drawing with our non- dominant hand will also engage our right brain.  If you need a” kick”, to get going, try one of these exercises.  Let’s liberate our inner artist and engage the right side of our brain.

“My aim is a continuous, sustained, uncontrived image, motivated by nothing but passion.”    Rico Lebrun

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