“One of the marks of an intelligent person is to be able to distinguish what is worth doing and what isn’t, and to be able to set priorities.” Anne Wilson Schaef
Be true to yourself! To an artist, those words are important. We are all unique individuals and each of us has our own unique style. Embrace it! Each of us has our own idea of what beauty is, what is meaningful, what is exciting, what brings us joy. What is right for one, may not be right for another.
I am a great advocate of trying new things, learning new processes, trying out new ways of approaching subjects, exploring different styles, and working with new mediums. You never know what you might discover. But, at the same time as I am gathering this new information, and developing these new skills, I am evaluating how it will fit into my art life. Some things I can take and use, and they enhance what I do, other things are just not for me.
My last class had many “new to abstract” people. I admire them all for trying this style and getting out of their comfort zone. It may not be what they continue to do, but it will help them view their usual work in a different way, and it will expand their own ability. Once you try something different, it broadens how you see things.
Most creative people who see something they really like, want to try it. Go ahead! You lose nothing by trying. You gain experience and develop a broader view of the art world. But you also must decide if it is something you want to develop the skill set for, and if you will enjoy the process, on an ongoing basis. Not everything we enjoy viewing, fits our abilities.
Having spent many years teaching art, among other things, I have developed a lot of skill sets, but I don’t enjoy doing all of them with the same amount of passion. And, let’s face it, passion counts when you are an artist! Being technically correct is OK, but without the passion our work will lack the key ingredient to really connect to our viewers.
My passion is in the tactile experience, and so I am happiest when I hear the “scritch scratch” sound of pastel on sanded paper, or I can create a collage with stuff I can feel or make a textured surface to paint on. I don’t get the same passion if it is just me, a paintbrush, paint, and a piece of paper.
Try a lot of different things. You never know what you will discover, to take back to the profound body of work, that sends you to your “Happy Place.”
“To be an artist is to believe in life”. Henry Moore