AN ARTIST CHOOSES (Part One)
" I am going to paint people who breathe, feel, love and suffer."
Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
The above quote is a proclamation, a declaration of a choice that the artist, Edvard Munch, has made. He is telling us, under no certain terms, what he is choosing to paint.
Creating art is all about making choices:
What to paint.
What to say about it.
How to depict it visually.
What medium to use.
What surface to work on.
I am embarking on a year long project that will culminate in an exhibit at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, opening January 3, 2014. I am a mixed media figurative artist. I am now faced with a series of choices. First, I have to decide what is on my mind about humanity or the human condition that interests me enough to explore possibilities for a new series of figurative pieces.
Easy decision… No problem…. Yeah, right!!
Once that decision is made, I then have to to figure out how I want to depict my theme visually.
As artists, you know what I am talking about.
But you have to decide these things. You have to start somewhere. I keep journals and sketchbooks galore. My best ideas come more frequently when I am making art. I keep a journal in my studio and always take the time to put the brush down and jot down an idea that just came to me. It is always worth it. I am never at a loss for ideas. The risk here is that you will then have too many ideas and will become frozen while trying to decide which idea to pursue.
What helps me with this is to get myself into a nice contemplative state and begin to peruse my journal. I try to remain open to everything. An idea invariably jumps out at me as something which excites me enough to want to sink my teeth into. If I begin creating work about my chosen idea and I find that I am not as excited about it as I thought, I abandon the piece and begin the process of finding a new idea to pursue. I do not get frustrated by this. I have not wasted my time at all. In fact, I am one step closer to figuring out what I want to do. And I always learn something in the process. As artists we love to learn new stuff.
You must make decisions and not be afraid to do so. The more you practice making decisions, the easier it will become and the more confident you will become at making decisions. Remember, I am talking about art making decisions here.
Indecision can lead to procrastination, a lack of authenticity in your work, or worse yet, artists block. Embrace your freedom to choose.
If making choices concerning your art are difficult for you, you are not alone. The multitude of choices facing any artist can be overwhelming. What helps me is the thought, "I cannot fail". What would you do if you knew you could not fail? We can always re-paint, re-draw, sand into, gesso over, collage on top of or just plain start over. No harm, no foul. What a relief!
This kind of thinking will give you the freedom and confidence to try stuff, redo, change, edit, take risks and go for it! All essential for inspired creativity.
Each pencil mark is a choice. Each brushstroke is a decision. But you make them. One pencil mark and one brushstroke at a time. We all start with a blank piece of paper or a blank canvas. It is up to you what goes on that surface. And that is powerful. Embrace that power. There are no mistakes. Only choices and decisions. It is not scary. It is empowering. It is artistic freedom.
Choose to take control of your art.
Read AN ARTIST CHOOSES (Part Two) now.