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  • Writer's picturecarolyn land

Tools in Your Toolbox

Art is a language, instrument of knowledge, instrument of communication”          Jean Dubuffet

In the last blog I addressed the problem of motivation when you do not have a support group and other artists to bounce ideas off.  You learn a lot from watching other people and seeing how others approach the painting process and solve problems.

As I mentioned one problem is not really knowing what excites you. I suggested one activity which would help you find what is essentially important to you, which is one of the first things you need to be creative.  Something that you want to work with, share, speak about.

After dialog with several readers, it came to me that another reason for lack of motivation is not having enough “Tools in Your Toolbox”. After all, creativity is born from past knowledge. If you are struggling to get to the “Heart of the Matter” and paint from your heart, you need the knowledge of, and practice with, some basic tools.  You need to know how your medium of choice works, you need some basic color theory, and you need some basic composition.  When those tools are in your toolbox and when you know your passion it all comes together.

There are a great many videos online that address color theory and basic composition, and I do not think there is a product sold that does not have a “how to” video on how to use the product.  Knowledge is power!  Having this basic info helps to solve problems we encounter.

Having a mental picture of what we want to do, takes away spontaneity, and when it does not turn out like the mental picture, we often become discourage.


Messages                                                    #1

I had to write a “blurb” this past week on what motivates my art and the process I use to make it.  That part was easy.  My motivation is the natural elements I see in nature.  The process I use, the one that works for me, is laying in a format and picking a palette and laying in three values from the palette I have chosen.  After that, I go someplace deep inside and I am often surprised when I look at the work.  I do not general know ahead of time what is going to happen.

Echoes From the Canyon            #2

This process works for me because I studied composition.  My format starts me off with that.  I understand color theory, so when I pick a palette, I know the colors that are going to work together.  I also use one brand of paint and usually the same 5 or 6 colors and mix my own secondary colors, values, and intensities of those colors. That way I know they will harmonize. Having that knowledge allows me to be free.

Mixed Messages         #3

What did surprise me in the “blurb” I wrote, was when I started to analyze the  paintings I was writing about.  They were done during the pandemic, the first was very much like my usual work. (See above #1) But, as I became more consumed by what was going on in the world the colors became more intense, I used less transparency, and there were more hard edges.  I was painting from my gut.  I was getting to the “Heart of the Matter”.


Interference                          #4

So, if you are struggling, assess your knowledge about the basics. If that could be the problem, go visit “YouTube” and amp up the “Tools in Your Toolbox”. Just do not get lost in the landmine of 10,000 techniques and say “Oh I want to try this”.  Stick with the basics.  After that, visit the technique section.

The basics are the important tools that allow you to express your passion. Stay safe.  Carolyn

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