EVOLUTION OF AN ARTIST
Recently, an artist friend and I got into a short discussion about how we evolve in our respective mediums. When we are young in the pursuit of art, an artist's hand is typically tight, demanding realism be expressed. We are taught the basics of drawing, rendering, reflected light, color theory, and so much more. In our conversation, I brought up that many of the greats like Picasso and Monet began painting in the realm of realism. You should see my work from 30 years ago. Tight.
As we march down the timeline that is our artist's journey, it is my belief that once we have gained confidence in our abilities, some of us explore other methods and mediums. "Loosen up!" How many times have you heard that in a professional workshop? TNTC
And then there is the medium to consider. When a medium, for example - encaustic, is perfectly designed to deliver random outcomes like gesture or abstraction, why continue to fight the upstream battle of representational art? Knowing that we can doesn't mean we should keep going in the same direction. Swim with the tide and embrace new horizons.
The traditional nature of oil painting lends itself to many styles. I have gradually loosened my grip on the brush over a lifetime. My work is still representational because that is where my joy flows from but it is not realism by any account. My process is very different now when compared with how I painted even 10 years ago. This is all the result of pushing the boundaries and trying new things (paints, brushes, knives, substrates).
If you want to kickstart turning the page with your art, a first easy step is to use a different brush. Another is to give yourself a few rules of engagement like - Complete a small painting in 20 strokes; Use only 3 colors; Begin with a dark underpainting. All these simple games can open up new possibilities.
As we approach a new year, plan to fearlessly go where you've never been before. And do it for yourself without concern what the art critics will think or say. Create from the heart. Have a wonderful holiday!