Re-framing Your Thinking
“I’m for the person who takes the bit in his teeth & goes after what he believes in.” Robert Henri
Whether we do realism, abstraction, or nonobjective work, it must have our heart and spirit in it to be good. We can be a perfect draftsman, but without something special that makes the piece uniquely ours, it is not going to create a genuine dialogue with the viewer.
This is easier to do when we are painting abstractly because we are putting our own spin on a subject.
Geologic Time Acrylic on Textured Surface
If we are painting in a nonobjective style, we must be careful not to fall into a “design trap” if we are not putting our “gut” into our work.
Break Through Mixed Media
When we paint realistically, we need to put a lot of our heart into the painting to make it more than an excellent representation of an object or view of something. We can do this during the editing process, by using strokes or techniques that are uniquely ours, picking unusual subject matter or scenes with interesting atmosphere, or by picking subjects that have such special meaning to us, it will be reflected in our work.
Majestic Autumn Pastel over Watercolor
“You do not see with lens of the eye. You see through that, and by means of that, but you see with the soul of the eye.” John Ruskin
As an instructor I hear so many artists say, “I want to do this or that, and make it look like…” As artists we need to re-frame the way we think about the things we do. We should focus far less on the result, and far more on the process. This allows us to be aware of the moment, and feel the joy of doing, rather than obsessing over the result. Enjoy the journey! When we do this, we tap into that unconscious creativity I have been writing about. The creativity that resides within each of us. This is what makes our work unique.
“A real artists work is a surprise to himself.” Robert Herni
Children do something that most of us adults have forgotten. They do not worry about what others think, or the end results. (That is, until someone stomps on their creativity.) Children possess a fascination with their everyday existence that is so special. They make every minute count. They do not worry about how it is going to turn out. They just experience the moment. It would be very helpful to us as adults and definitely as artists, if we would not go through life with blinders on rushing from point A to point B focusing on the end result, instead of the journey. We go through life anticipating the destination and miss really seeing the things that are happening in the moment, how they relate to each other, and how they make us feel. We miss so much!
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. Pablo Picasso
As artists, our paintings should start out from a mood or feeling, an emotional relationship to the object, or our visual impression of what it is we are going to be working on. Having a mental picture of the end product or too detailed a plan, is only going to make us frustrated. We will be spending our time worrying about the end results, judging each stroke we put down, instead of enjoying the journey and letting our internal creativity out.
Stay safe and enjoy your journey through the creative process. Carolyn