Ebb and Flow
One week into our winter stay in the South West, I read a great article in a local publication by an area artist. She shared the rewards of living her creative life in a flexible but determined schedule. Starting the day very early, she had the time to center herself, get the priorities of the day in order, and keep her artistic goals first in mind. Painting/writing would then proceed in 1 1/2 - 2 hour chunks with planned breaks for mundane tasks, going for walks, taking a nap, etc., throughout the day.
I find I start the day with journaling, prayer and thankfulness, but too often fall off the rails after that. The laundry calls, vacuuming needs to be done, duty beckons. And my artwork slips in importance. So, I think, as a creative person, it makes for more sense to prioritize my artistic efforts and slip the "duties" in between. I give myself permission to focus on what is really important despite old conditioning! Thanks to artist/writer Myrna York, "Tubac Villager", for the good advice.
I'll let you know how this works! See you next week.
intuitive? OR conservative?
Painters tend to fall into two different categories in the way they approach painting. One is INTUITIVE, the person who dives into a painting and solves the problems as they go.
The other is CONSERVATIVE, a painter who spends time planning their concept with preliminary sketches before beginning, and, usually working slowly and carefully.
When producing a painting from start to finish, I find I work pretty slowly. I think about my idea, sometimes do sketches to figure out composition and value, the traditional way, and then begin. In the beginning I was a watercolor painter, and that is how I was taught to proceed. And, experience tells me that the conservative approach saves mistakes and muddy washes.
BUT since I've begun to explore acrylics, collage and other mixed media, I find I get frustrated with confining myself with being too methodical. It's time consuming to make large changes in traditional watercolor; not so with the other materials. So, now I'm in transition - still too worried about making "mistakes" but working to get past that. One method is not better than the other. Not at all. It just needs to fit the personality of the artist.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
* Do you quickly complete your work or enjoy a long, thoughtful process?
*Is doing a painting in one shot satisfying or frustrating?
*Are you more comfortable being tidy or expressive? Have you found the medium that allows you to work at the pace you enjoy?
Let me know about you! Leave a comment!
How to or Why?
(I recently read an article by William (Skip) Lawrence, a noted artist and teacher, describing the restrictions of learning to paint focused only on a particular technique. That approach is really popular in workshopss where the unspoken goal is to be able to paint more like the instructor, focusing on the "how to" of painting. It produces conformity, not a lot of creativity. I know from experience that it's a lot easier to work that way, teaching or painting.
The real challenge is to create the "why", (one I've given myself )- to make painting decisions with that goal in mind. Another artist I admire said she gives a title to her painting as she begins the idea so that she keeps her focus.
Pictured is a piece of YUPO paper
with a pour of liquid acrylics. I love
the colors and it speaks to me of the
layered colors of the western land-
scape. I have several ideas for
developing it. I think I'll title it,
"Moab". I wonder where it will go!
"In short, the most original artists
begin with an idea and then the form serves to communicate it. The imitative artists often feature a technique and then have to search for an idea to justify their effort" William Lawrence.
Forget the Trendy Tools
Yup, I have a full set of squirrel hair brushes (expensive squirrel hair brushes) bought in a fevered rush after a watercolor workshop so my painting efforts would be greatly improved. Has that ever happened to you? A gizmo or product used by a workshop instructor catches your fancy because you want to paint as well as they do. Surely the ONE right brush, the new kind of paper, some expensive markers will make all the difference.
Artist Donna Arnold