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Take a Creative Sabbatical

“Painting is manual labor, no different from any other; it can be done well or poorly.”           George Grosz

Photo by FL artist Carolyn Land

View From My Window as I Write     Somer, WY

“We can’t all be creative 100% of the time, so don’t burn yourself out by working 24 / 7 / 365.  Taking breaks and zoning out from art tasks lets our brains do long-term, big-picture thinking …” That was another suggestion from my readings of unsolicited mail in my inbox, which I wrote about in my last blog.

I have spent the last two weeks on an “art sabbatical”.  It has been a wonderful vacation, and I must admit after some time away, I feel renewed. I am looking forward to going home and getting back in the studio.

I have seen so many interesting things and so many beautiful places that I have: a folder of reference pictures for pastel work, new ideas for abstract paintings, and after some time in Yellowstone; “the wild heart of the continent”, with all its geo-thermo activity, many exciting ideas for my geologic abstract collages and textural work.

Photo by FL artist Carolyn Land

                                                           Boiling Mud Pool Yellowstone National Park

We have also encountered a lot of rain on this trip, which added even a deeper dimension to some pictures. A moody sky week!  It also gave us time to visit some museums and art galleries we would not otherwise have seen. A bonus!

The motivation for my work has always been my love of nature.  I must say I have feasted on its offerings the past two weeks. Years ago I saw the Grand Tetons, which were the motivation for the mixed media piece “Ice Flow”. They are as beautiful today as they were then.

“Ice Flow”

Grand Tetons   

“Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to learn to understand art more and more.”  Vincent Van Gogh

I write a lot about knowing why you paint, and about writing an “artist statement”, so your viewers know what motivates your work.   If you can define who you are, what you want to do, what you are willing to do, why you want to do it, you will less likely encounter those creative blocks.  Knowing these things will give you answers without angst. You will look, really see, and then create, when you know what your motivation and passion is. Then you can snap a picture, cut out something for that idea book, and write down ideas that spring into your head.   Being unsure of what you want to say in your work and why you want to say it, can leave you confused, and allows you to be swayed in directions that may not right for you.

Glacier National Park

“Above all, be true to yourself, and if you can not put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.”  Unknown

A little creative development exercise.  “Green is not Green”  How many different greens do you see in the picture below?  Throw away your greens. Take out all your blues, all your yellows, and a white, and start mixing those greens.

Photo by FL artist Carolyn

How Many Greens?  Bear Lake, UT

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