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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Land

Studio Practices

“You can’t use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have.”       Maya Angelou

The Beauty Within 16x20 $650 Textural art by Carolyn Land

                                                          The Beauty Within                   Textured Surface

I am frequently asked if I go to my studio every day, or do I wait until I feel creative. I am kind of a true product of the the quote above.  Most of the time I feel creative.  Creativity is not my problem.  Creativity seeps into most of the things I do, cooking, gardening, housekeeping, my volunteer work, teaching, even scheduling my days activities. If I am doing something in which I can’t add a little creative input, I am thinking about possibilities. Sometimes I am making that “simple little plan” in my head: What I want to say, what colors would be good to work with, what supplies I would need to do it, and how I would want to start. Often I see something when I am out and about that says you could do something with that.

But the question does makes me think about my art-making process. Doing a painting has different parts that require a different mindset or energy. So going to the studio is not so much for me about feeling creative, but what do I have the mindset or energy to tackle when I get there.  Then of course there is the business aspect of being a creative! Yes, I go to my studio every day, but not every day is devoted to creating something.

Some days I get supplies and lay out a “simple little plan”, pick a palette for the project, and quickly lay out my idea. Other times when I know there is nothing else I must do, I work on my many starts…all the “simple little plans” I have laid out.  That is the best time, because I totally lose myself in what I am doing. The inner creativity that does not require thought comes out.  Then those pieces get propped up until I have the right mindset or energy to critiqued what I did, and start the editing process. Critiquing a painting takes a very particular type of energy and creative thought.

I have a lot of starts. This increases my productivity and gives an ease and flow to my studio time and how it fits in with my day. There is always something I can work on. I can lay out an idea, immerse myself in the creative process, critique and edit, varnish and frame, or work on the business of marketing. (Which is not my strong point!)

However, you choose to set up your work space, if you are serious about your art, you need to make time for it.  The only way you get better at something is to practice.  Each piece may not be successful, but each piece will teach you something. The more you create, the more creative you become.

After I wrote the last Blog, on the gratitude I have for being a “creative”, I received a quote from a friend and reader.  I would like to share it with you.

“The dedication of a life to producing works which have no practical purpose, which may or may not be preserved, which may or may not be sold, which may or may not be exhibited, which may or may not be worth the original cost of materials, is a curious phenomenon that has existed in all civilizations. The creative artist is truly the great adventurer of all times.”                                                                                                                     Dorothy Gillespie

I am not sure that I agree with the whole statement.  I would heartily argue with, “producing works which have  no practical purpose”.  Any creative exercise has the practical purpose of expanding and preserving your brain.  The rest may sadly be true.

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