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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Raw Material

“A painting should not be a battlefield it must be a statement.  Set out with something to say and not with a vague desire to say something.  Things never simplify themselves they always complicate themselves on the way from the brain to the canvas. Set out, take your precautions.”                                             Louise Bourgeois

If you know what you want to say, you will find it easier to decide what to do and how to do it. You will feel confident about your work. As artists we must put the essence of what we want to say, our feelings about the subject, into our paintings.

Alternative surface painting by FL artist Carolyn

“Man’s Mark” Textured Surface & Acrylic

The raw material for our creative work comes from within us.  But, how do we tap into that inner self, to know what exactly it is that is moving us to do something?  Here are some proven techniques you can use to get in touch with that which is within:

  1. Spend time in nature: Look at the tree tops. Notice how the breeze or wind moves them. See the clouds and note the direction and speed of the wind. Touch something in the natural world, like a smooth stone, a plant, the bark of a tree. Notice its texture and temperature.

  2. Write a soul journal: Write about anything. Save what you write and read it later. You will enjoy it and gain insights into yourself. Julia Cameron author of “The Artists Way” is a great proponent of this technique; suggesting every artist should write “morning pages”, an unconscious flow of thoughts.

  3. Schedule solo dates: Spend time alone just enjoying yourself. We can become so busy with our to-do lists, catching up with others, and caring for our family, that we forget to check in with ourselves. Schedule  a weekly solo expedition to get to know yourself a bit better. Take yourself for a coffee, visit a gallery exhibition, go to a park. Enjoy solitude.

  4. Take yoga classes: Yoga is a beautiful way to align your mind with your body. As you focus your attention on your breathing and positioning, you get a chance to silence your mind and cultivate a lasting sense of inner peace to carry with you for the rest of the day.

  5. Meditate or take “Me time”: Tune out from the noise of the world,  your own worries, and circling thoughts, and let your inner guide have a moment to speak to you. Sit and do nothing for a few moments. Listen to the sounds going on around you, scan your body for sensations, and enjoy a few deep breaths from your diaphragm. As Eckhart Tolle points out, “One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.”

  6. Travel: It could be as simple as taking a new route to work or shopping, or as magnificent as booking an extensive vacation. Either way, when you see something new you look more closely at it and make new discoveries.

  7. Take long walks: This is one of the simplest ways to clear your mind. Pay attention to what’s around you and look for the details in things rather than staying in your head letting your concerns about everyday problems invade your observations.

  8. Listen to Music: Not the same old, same old stuff, but something different than what you normally listen to.  See how it makes you feel. Different music brings about different responses.

Doing these things repeatedly helps us get into our true-self,  and away from our social self. When we are in tune with who we are, we gain confidence, and can express ourselves more adequately. When we meet our inner-selves we meet our self-expression in a very genuine way.

If you are in the area, save the date: October 6 from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, to visit the Opening of “What Lies Beneath”, a series of “Geologic Abstracts” which are so much apart of who I am. They are about my relationship with nature.  The Founders Gallery, in the HUB at 132 Canal Street in New Smyrna Beach, FL.

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