• Carolyn Land

Material: Part 2 of the “Simple Plan”

“One gets into the state of creativity by conscience work.”                                                                            Henri Matisse

The second part of the “simple plan” I have been writing about; that should be done before you begin your creative work, is to have the materials you will need ready to use. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of the creative process and find you don’t have what you need. You know what you want to work on, so get the materials ready.  Do I have the right brushes and tools, the right additives, correct support and did I prepare the support correctly?

Suspended Rocks Mixed Media


If you have an idea of what you want to do and what you want to convey to your viewer, take some time to figure out what you are going to need to do it.  If you have given yourself time to play with your materials, you will know the different ways they can be used and what they can do. So, if you plan on doing a certain project write yourself an, “I will need list.”

I have been teaching for many years and there are very few classes that I don’t  hear someone say, “I don’t have that with me.”  But it is the same in your workspace at home.  “Look, I was working on this, but I did’t have this and that to finish, and now I have forgotten what I was going to do. What can I do with it?” Simple planning can be helpful.  That being said, not having something, can also be an opportunity, to stretch out and try something else with the materials you have. Plan but don’t be rigid. It you can’t do one thing try something else.  It is another advantage of knowing what the medium you are working with can do.

I am also a firm believer on working on several pieces at the same time. It allows for drying time, ideas bounce off of spontaneous things that happen in one piece, that can spur an idea for the another, and when you take a break from something and you come back to it, you see it with new eyes. It also gives you the opportunity to let the creative spirit keep moving when you reach a block because you forgot something, or you are not sure where to go next.

Also. when you have an idea of what you are going to say, plan a palette. Have those colors.  Learn to mix your own colors.  I basically use 5 colors.  With those I can mix anything I need.

I know this sounds ridged to the “creative types” that are not planners, but if you plan on working away from your usual, at home work space, it is a necessity. You can’t bring everything, just because you might need it. You should plan on what you can do, in a specific amount of time, and what you will need in that time period, especially if you know what your intent is, and how your materials work.

In the next blog I will write about part 3 of the “simple plan”: laying in the basic composition before you let the inner artist take over.

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