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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Land

Starting on the right foot

“To be an artist is to believe in life.”                     Henry Moore

We have been discussing what inspires us to create, and I have frequently said, “paint what you love”. We should pick a subject which inspires us, and we know about, then work to discover all the different ways we can interpret it.

If you are starting out however, think simple when you are deciding how you want to work with your subject.  As a teacher I have seen many budding artists, new to the creative process, become frustrated and give up, because they picked something too complicated, or did not have enough knowledge about the material they were using, or the subject they wanted to work with. Then they allow themselves to do the negative “self-talk” thing; give up and say, “I can’t”!

Success takes time. Knowledge is the thing from which new ideas are made.  The key then to being creative lies in what you know about your subject and the materials you are using. Creation is a journey.

  1. Find a subject that inspires you.

  2. Find a medium that you would like to work with.

  3. Watch some U Tube videos that show what can be done with that medium, read a book about it, take a class, ask questions.

  4. Play with the medium and see how it handles.

  5. Learn the basics about composition and color mixing.

  6. Get all your supplies together.

When you know your subject, and you know how your medium works then and only then can you manipulate that knowledge and transform it into new and creative ideas.  Each of us has an “artist” and a “judge” inside us. Some with a little more artist than judge. Others, with a lot of judge snipping away at the little artist.

The openminded artist attitude is the kind of thinking you need to get going and develop imaginative ideas.  The evaluative judge represents the kind of thinking you use in the practical phase, when you are preparing to work, when you are learning techniques and composition, and in the end when tweaking your work.  A little knowledge goes a long way here to ward off disappointment.  Just don’t let the judge part sabotage your efforts.  This happens when the budding artist: tackles something that they are not quite ready for, don’t know how the medium they are using works, come with a preconceive idea of what it is going to look like when it is finished, or they are afraid of what someone else will think of their work.

Embrace the “child within” and play enough with your medium to learn how your medium works before you tackle the “tough stuff”.  Don’t be afraid to ask yourself am I using the right medium to get the result I want?

Mixed media Painting by FL Carolyn Land

Color of Memory Re-purposed Collage

Just remember there is no such thing as failure.  They are learning experiences.  If you think in the end, it is still not the result you wanted, remember it can always be re-purposed.  I have a closet full of paintings to be re-purposed.

We can all find success when we take the creative journey one step at a time.  Knowledge first, then you can play around with that knowledge and let your creative mind transform one thing into another.   You know the saying about kissing a lot of toads until you find your prince, well you try a lot of techniques and mediums before you find the one that brings you joy, and the results you want to see. Take the creative journey and enjoy the process.

I don’t demand that all work be a masterpiece.  I think what I am doing is the right thing for me – that is what I am, and this is living.  It reflects me, and I reflect it.”                                                                      Louise Nevelson  

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