Saturday, March 21, 2015

Go Your Own Way

This is a 10 x 10 inch painting on stretched canvas that I painted earlier in the week.  For one of the lessons in Layer Love 2.0.  I like it the way it is, for now anyway, and I'm moving on.  I have another piece for this lesson that might be finished, as well ~ although I might add more paint to that one today.

Being in another class, my first in a year, has brought up a few things for me to ponder internally. Largely having to do with trusting myself to not over-analyze, and to stop or move on when it feels right to me ~ as opposed to continuing to work over and over again on something as suggested by the instructor.  I am not making the instructor's work; I am making my own work.

Along with the above, there's also that I always, until now anyway, felt compelled to post photos on the class blog of my works in process, to get feedback, suggestions and/or accolades.  I'm only going to do that from now on if I really feel stumped.  Which is the best use of the instructor feedback option, anyway.  It's just that I've still been competing internally in some way, albeit unconsciously, and/or seeking approval from others for my own creative decisions.

Taking classes is about learning new tools and techniques, and getting a glimpse of how other artists do what they do.  There is no absolute right way to do anything.  What's taught is what works for that artist.  It may or may not work for me.  I just have to keep reminding myself of these things.  It will still and always be up to me to determine how I use what I learn in my own art.

I recently read a terrific 2-part blog post on finding one's artistic voice, from Bernina's sewing blog.  Here's Part 1.  Here's Part 2.  Applies to any medium.  Highly recommended.  One of the high points of the article is about learning to let go of things you don't want to do in your art.  It's a process of picking and choosing, of incorporating what intuitively feels right for you and letting the other possibilities go.  I've known all this stuff intellectually for a long time.  Getting it viscerally is what I'm working on now.  And it all boils down to this: Trust your instincts.


Marybeth said...

My wish would be for you to continue to post your works as you go along because I for one learn a lot from you...but we all must promise not to critic. Think we could do that?? Sometimes others input disrupts the creative flow. Thanks for the 2 blog suggestions!

Jan said...

Good articles and good advice. I'm glad I'm not interested in exhibiting, so some of this is not important for me. Take what you like and leave the rest!

Thanks for telling us about this. Oh--and I love, love, love this painting! (As you might expect...)

Charlton Stitcher said...

What good advice you give, Connie, and how guilty I am of seeking approval from others ... and competing internally. The thought cropped up just recently in a conversation from a much more knowledgeable and experienced art practitioner than me. How I wish I could get satisfaction from the 'just doing as it feels right to me to do' ...

Maggi said...

Coincidentally, I am in the middle of a class and made a conscious decision not to share photos unless I needed to for reasons that are very similar to yours.

I think your painting has a Turner feel to it, not the colour, but the way that it seems to suggest something just beyond our vision.

I agree with you too about Leni's articles, plenty of good advice.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Have been saving these links until things quieted down and I had sufficient time to read and savor. Right off the bat, I found myself nodding in agreement when it is mentioned that others often recognize your voice before you yourself do - I still puzzle over what it is others are keying into that tells them it's me. Also, that part about editing, deciding "which techniques, methods and parts of the process you enjoy" and letting go of the rest resonated with me too.

I do understand the point about developing one cohesive and consistent voice, as I often think my work is all over the place, but as Jan said, for some people that may not be so important. It hasn't made any difference in my exhibiting opportunities here locally, but I must admit to being aware of it on the rare occasions I submit to juried exhibitions. I think some messages that we wish to convey can only be done so in certain ways that might not match the bulk of what we do. The art must be made. Whether it is accepted is perhaps not the most important part.

So that's part 1. Part two confused me a bit as she appeared to contradict some of what she said in part 1. But still some good rules of thumb when thinking how to approach your art in the long run for it to be truly an expression of you.