Embracing The Struggle In Art
When you “get out of the way”, when you’re not trying so hard to make something happen- this is when something magical emerges in your art.
Even as wondrous paintings can emerge without trying, I think some of our most compelling and astonishing work comes out of experiences of struggle.
In some paintings, we wrestle down the dark angels of self doubt.
Sometimes, too, we can’t see the value of our new creation.
Of course, not every creation is something we’ll love. Not every painting will “work” for us. Yet, every painting, every exploratory work is important.
One of the biggest lessons for all artists is the lesson of “allowing”. We’ve got to allow for the works that feel “ugly”, the ones we don’t like.
Even the works we abandon are works that inform us.
We’re not going to hang every painting on our wall, yet every exploratory painting we create contributes to our ability to deeply experiment and take risks.
Experimentation is where the magic is.
We simply must learn to not only tolerate these orphaned-off paintings, but ultimately to embrace them. These exploratory works come bearing gifts. They’re a necessary part of our journey of creating our deepest art.
- slap dash, chaotic paintings with no underlying structure
- formulaic, predictable paintings that leave us yawning
What if you simultaneously embraced the struggle and also let go?
What would happen in your experience of creating art?
The challenge is to integrate the playful, intuitive, experimental side of ourselves with the part of ourselves that is aware of structure, value and composition.
And how do we do this?
This is where the concept of “miles of canvas” and “many starts” comes in.
It’s in the process of painting that we learn. Just as in writing, where writing 1000 words a day makes a big difference over time, going into your studio and painting as often as possible will get you to the place of integrating the left and right sides of your brain, the art and science of painting.
To simplify things as much as possible I’ll leave you with one tip:
Work in a series. Create many painting “starts” and develop them further.
Over the next few weeks we’ll go deeper into why working in a series is important. We’ll also explore “letting go” and many other topics.
If you enjoyed this, please comment below. I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. I have a FREE Video course. Register HERE for it.
Also published on Medium.