During high school my art teacher awarded me as the outstanding senior painter of the year. That essentially sums up the extent of my formal education in the arts. I attended college, even graduated with honors. But I never took another art class. To some in the art community, I’ve been looked down upon for never having formally studied art. But I firmly believe that you can learn anything if you put your heart, mind, and soul into it. So that’s what I did… I practiced self-study in the field of painting. I looked towards the masters to see what lessons they could pass on to me while still exploring my own theories in art.
My best friend during college thought it was probably a good thing, and this is coming from someone formally trained in the arts as a graphic designer. Her rationale was that the professors probably would have done more harm than good, and in some ways, she was probably right.
Besides having one of the worst inner critics, I’ve never been one to create on demand very well. If you tell me to paint pretty landscapes, I’ll paint nudes. If you tell me to paint a nude, I’ll paint birds.
My brain naturally resists the slightest notion of creating on demand. However, I have successfully created commission pieces if I felt passionate about the piece.
As Julia Cameron states:
So much of art hinges on our ability to trust intuition, to follow our hunch about what “might” or “could” come next.
It’s good to make art part of your everyday life. But you have to be careful to not get too serious. To remember to laugh and remind yourself that it’s okay to fail, to have a bad day at the easel. To type 10,000 words of absolute garbage. It’s needed to let the muse have a chance to sing. She sometimes whispers, screams, or doesn’t speak at all. The point is to continue listening for when inspiration might speak. To continue being creative, even if it isn’t your masterpiece.
I find myself needing to consider this idea often right now as I work on an upcoming exhibit that is focused completely on my exploration of female portraits and nudes. It’s been an avenue of artwork that I’ve been passionately creating for years, but exactly when I receive requests to create more pieces in this style- larger pieces, full of expression- I freeze up. And I start thinking about painting peacocks or trombones or coffee cups.
Well, I might create a peacock painting eventually, but this weekend is going to be completely focused on painting pieces for the upcoming exhibit. We are going to make it the perfect weekend.
Brian has promised to keep me fed, watered, and well cared for as I delve into my studio.
More to come this weekend as I share my adventures so stay tuned…