• Carolyn Land

Playing it Safe

“I’m always saying to myself: ‘that is not right yet.  You can do better’.  It is rare when I can prevent myself from taking a thing up again…Sometimes it becomes an obsession”                                                           Pablo Picasso

I love the wind.  I find freedom in the wind.  Maybe because it is so uncontrollable.  It is something that you can feel, and by moving become part of.  It can be gentle and cooling, and make you want to dance, like blowing leaves on an autumn day. It can also be turbulent and devastating.  There are times I wish I could capture that freedom in my paintings, on those days that I look at what I did, and say, “my you are uptight today”!  But, sometimes it is just because we are being so careful, because we have to get it right!

Pastel painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

Spring Morning


This freedom, which is ultimately what we want to capture in our work, is seen when there are lost and found edges, when one color moves gently into another, when the mark that is made, is spontaneous, rather than controlled.

I said several weeks ago, your painting does not need to be technically perfect.  It should be about feelings and convey emotion.  So when you are painting take risks.  Don’t play it safe. Play with the paint or materials you are using and let the materials work for you, and embrace the happy accidents that happen.

A very special mentor I had, used to say “Risk a glorious failure”.  I love that!  I had another instructor say, “if you are concerned about the cost of the paper, cut it into six smaller pieces and try something different on each one”.

One of my new students this past year was so wonderfully enthusiastic.  She wanted to try everything and did, with abandon. She said her father used to tell her, “you don’t know until you have tried.  I like that saying put in the past tense, rather than the way we usually hear it.  So next time your creative spirit moves you to work, don’t play it safe, enjoy the journey.

“Artists that seek perfection in everything are those who cannot attain it in anything”.                 Eugene Delacroix

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