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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land


“What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”                              Ralph Waldo Emerson 

We are all born creative, but to what extent it is it is developed is different for everyone. Everyone who wants to explore their creative side has a different reason for doing so. For some people it an inborn passion to express themselves through an art form; artistic expression is part of their being.  Others have been told they have an aptitude for it and develop it. Yet others enjoy it because it adds a richness to their life.

Alternative surface painting by FL artist Carolyn Land

Times Bounty    Textured Surface

Expressing ourselves through a fine art medium is a way to communicate a feeling to someone else, no matter why you are doing it or what level you are at.  That is why it is important to know what you want to say, and to get in touch with that inner self that I wrote about in the last blog.  This expressed feeling adds a richness to our work, rather than have it be an academic exercise that says; “look I am a good draftsman I can copy!” So, start with what you love doing, because the powerful connection, your authentic feelings, will show in your work.

Many artists become totally dependent on their reference material and forget about the feelings that go with it. This happens  because: they lack the confidence in their own ability to change what they are looking at, they think their message is not worth hearing, or they don’t know what their message is. They think of their art as an academic exercise rather than a means of communication with the people that are going to see it.

Why don’t we always tap into our own unique perspective? Because we do the negative ‘self-talk” thing. You know, that little voice that is inside our head that says: “I can’t do this. I am not that good. I am not creative enough. I don’t know what I want to say. My ideas are not that good.” What is happening is your negative self-talk is combining your conscious thoughts with your unconscious beliefs and biases.

The good news is that you can learn to challenge that negative inner critic by becoming aware of it. With practice, it can become more natural to think positive thoughts rather than negative ones. How do we do this?  By bringing mindfulness to our thoughts. When you hear your self-saying these negative: “I can’t, I couldn’t, not me,” things, stop!  Write them down and re-write them in a positive form.  It not only helps us become more familiar with the way our minds automatically operate, but it also frees us from having these thoughts dictate who we are and what we believe. The messages we give to ourselves every day have enormous power. Positive affirmations help change this inability to tap into our own creative power.

“Affirmations are like prescriptions for certain aspects of yourself that you want to change.” Jerry Frankhauser

They are positive sentences about what you can and want to do: “I will to learn to let myself create.  I am willing to experience my creative energy, I will tap into my inner child, I will be open to new ideas.” Then when a negative thought comes in, re-scrip it to be a positive.

When we can reach inside and connect with the feeling we wish to express in our work rather than copy what we see, our work becomes more expressive and richer.  We need to be on a quest to find our inner-self and let our uniqueness show in our work. Then a dialogue will start with the viewer which should be our goal as an artist.

So, let’s get creative, and push ourselves from the point of taking other people’s ideas and thoughts,  being totally dependent on our reference material, or not do anything at all for that matter, to putting ourselves in our work. Affirm our in-born creativity, and get rid of the negative self-talk that says I can’t be creative.

“If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; If from the head, almost nothing.”               Marc Chagall

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