“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things”. Edgar Degas
Where is your focus? Who are you painting for? Last week I shared a little about why I paint; why I need to paint. I stated that there was a void in my life when I do not take time to create in my studio. Being a “creative being” is who I am. Whether it is painting, gardening, or cooking, my creative spirit slips in. The one thing I did not mention is, I create / paint for me! I think that is an all-important point. It is the point I want to address today at a time when so many are having a hard time getting back into the creative process.
As a creative I do not want other people to tell me, what I want to say, or how to say it. If I take a workshop, I do so to learn a new technique that I can use to enhance what I see in my own soul. I do not take it to paint like the instructor.
Be yourself! Find the genuine you. Learn how to use your material of choice: watercolor, ink, collage, oil, acrylic, etc. Learn what these things can do and then let the process take over. If you are not creating for you, you are missing the joy. The process, not the product should be your focus.
We need to let our intuition guide us, and then be willing to follow that guidance directly and fearlessly. The more we learn to operate in the world based on trust in our intuition, the stronger and more personal our work will be.
“There is no must in art because art is free.” Wassily Kandinsky
I have studied and taught enough “Art History” over the years to know that the greatest painters were pioneers and individualists. They shared ideas, points of view, and sometime studied together, but usually found their own direction even within a certain “movement”. They developed their own style, and spoke their own voice.
When artists feels they must follow the trends, paint to the color of the season, or what the local gallery is calling for so they can sell their work, they stop painting what’s inside them. They compromise their voice. They join workshops with people they admire and are successful, so they can learn their style in hopes of grabbing on to the brass ring, but frequently lose their voice.
To be able to break down the barrier of space between ourselves and others, yet at the same time to be able to maintain it, seems to be the paradox. But as artists there should be an awareness and an ability to share mutually creativity feelings without the need to be like one another. When we are clear about who we are and what we are doing, the energy will flow. Focusing on the process, enjoying your time with your medium, and painting for you, will in the end make you a better painter.
I read a quote last evening by Willa Cather which sums this up “…that is happiness; to be dissolved into something so complete and great.” Enjoy the process.
Paint what you feel! Find your own voice! Take pride in your individuality! Don’t keep finding fault with what you do.
Stay safe. Carolyn