There’s a big game today in America- the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl is an an American sports tradition associated with the consumption of vast amounts of junk fund and the wagering of staggering amounts of money. The GDP of some small countries pales in comparison.
It’s a zero sum game. There’s a winner and a loser in this struggle.
The Super Bowl is an illustration of what creating art is not.
Art is not a zero sum game. It’s not a winner take all situation.
Creating art is a long game.
Early in one’s life cycle as an artist there’s a tendency to fret over every single painting. Each painting is fraught, each one precious. Making matters worse, you may have only a few paintings under your belt since you may be painting sporadically at best.
The problem with this approach is that it places enormous pressure on each creation. Each painting becomes a life or death psychological battle.
And when you finally create a painting you love, you’re terrified that the next one will be disappointing. You fear you won’t ever be able to consistently create paintings you love.
A big part of the problem is that you’re simply not painting enough. This places enormous pressure on the few paintings you create.
Compounding this problem is the tendency to approach each artwork with the notion that it has to be a masterpiece. This sets you up for frustration and disappointment.
The antidote to this predicament is to cultivate an attitude of exploration and experimentation in your painting practice.
A powerful studio practice is to apply the concept of creating many painting “starts”.
Creating painting “starts” moves you out of perfectionism and overthinking and into a process and attitude of “not knowing”, of allowing yourself to step into the unknown territory, the terra incognita, and see what emerges in your art.
Artists continually evolve their art.
By creating many “starts” you activate your creativity, unleashing unfettered self expression. In this process, new and surprising images emerge. You step into uncharted territory, out on that ledge, not knowing what’s going to happen next.
Raw, immediate images emerge. Some of these images scare you, some repel you and others you don’t recognize.
It’s all part of the process of experimentation in your art.
If I could recommend only one studio practice for an artist, it would be to exhort them to continually experiment in their art. The easiest way I’ve found of activating experimentation is by creating many “starts’.
If this lesson is compelling to you, I think you’d love my new bestselling book: The Artist’s Journey: Bold Strokes To Spark Creativity.
The Artist’s Journey book has a free companion video training series you can access with the purchase of your book.
A lifelong dream came true for me when The Artist’s Journey was placed in a gem of a bookstore, the independent bookseller Bookshop Santa Cruz in my very own town of Santa Cruz, California.
Thank you for your support and encouragement of the book project.
With gratitude from my studio to yours,
P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you create many “starts” in your studio practice?
P.S.S. If you’d like to nab a copy of my bestselling book you can get it here: