Meshing the Conscious with the Unconcscience
“What still concerns me the most is: am I on the right track, am I making progress, am I making mistakes in art? Such things as materials, and care in the actual process of painting, and even in the preparing of canvas, are the least important. They can always be fixed up, can’t they? Whereas art-oh, it’s a very awkward and a very awesome thing to go into deeply.” Paul Gauguin
The last couple of weeks I have been writing about the “flow” period in our creative endeavors. This week I received a question about where composition fits into this process? My answer is: It depends upon how you work. We are all different in the way we approach our creations. Some people really like to put their medium on their surface and see what happens, then take on the challenge of turning it into a good composition.
Man Verses Nature
Others like to start with some type of format; an underlying structure that will hold the work together when they are in the “flow” stage of their work. The unconscious time, when things just happen.
No matter which way an artist chooses to work, it is a good idea, when you come out of that “creative place”, to prop up your work. Take a walk and give yourself time, so you can get an “emotional disconnect”, before you start your own critique. Remember you just poured your heart out on your canvas. You need distance, to be objective.
“I come into the studio very fearfully. I creep in to see what happened the night before. And the feeling is one of ‘My God’, I did that?” Francis Bacon
It is after you have had some time to live with what you created, that you start to consciously ask yourself about what you need to make it a strong, unified, and harmonious piece.
I find it is a good practice to put up three pieces of work. Using the “Principles of Design” we talked about in Blog 18, ask yourself which of the 3 is the strongest composition and why? Then, figure out what does painting number two have, that makes it stronger than painting number 1, or three? You will learn to figure it out. Then you tweak it. It takes time and practice. The only thing that makes an artist a good painter is to paint. Not every painting will be a masterpiece, but every painting will teach you something.