Expressing you in your abstract art is the topic we explore. This interview with Canadian artist Vikki Drummond is in response to eleven questions I posed to over 7000 artists. I asked my audience which of the following eleven questions they’d most like to hear other artists response to. Question #2 is the one that received the most votes: What’s your #1 strategy for expressing YOU in your art (your voice, style, lexicon, gestures)?
You can see the list of eleven questions at the end of these notes.
2:30 Vikki’s story of how she began creating abstract art
4:20 Vikki talks about the issue of expressing YOU in your art
5:30 Vikki talks about how you “lose yourself and find yourself” in your art
6:50 Vikki responds to the question: Why is expressing you in your abstract art important?
9:10 Vikki’s “aha” moment when it came together for her
12:00 Cinderella and the new dress
12:47 “Ugly” paintings and the potential for transformation
13:57 Your “Ugly” painting may actually be a “forever” painting. The power of letting go.
19:00 Advice for your younger self
21:15 The power of imagination & envisioning your dreams
Vikki says that: “The mind is a big factor in creating a wall between expressing and not expressing yourself”.
Finding ways to distract herself from overanalyzing and overthinking, Vikki finds it useful to listen to podcasts, chats, interviews and documentaries. This takes her brain away from the canvas and then she says: “I’m able to paint from inside myself”. This helps her to express authentic work.
Losing & Finding Yourself
I was intrigued by Vikki’s description of being deeply in her painting process as “losing yourself and finding yourself”.
Something about this phrasing reminded me of D.W. Winnicott’s work in child psychology where as children we’re continually discovering the world and in that exploration, we get lost and then re-find ourselves…over and over again (remember the game of “peek a boo”?)…and I think as adults, and in particular as artists, we’re doing that too.
I sense a deep “allowing” and permission in Vikki’s articulation of losing and finding herself in her painting. There’s a playful dance of getting lost in the moment and in the flow…and then coming back to find the work with fresh eyes.
When we talked about why it’s important to express yourself in your art, Vikki’s feeling is that it’s about connecting with our true selves authentically.
It’s Like Coming Home
She says that to feel that the work is yours and that expressing you in your abstract art is like coming home.
Vikki says her “aha” experience was when she was creating a series of 4 or 5 paintings and the first one just wasn’t working at any point. She said it was “a dog’s breakfast, a disaster, a write off”.
She stared at the painting for hours, trying to figure out how to resolve it. She finally gave up.
Cinderella & Her New Dress
It was only when Vikki let go and gave up trying so hard to figure out this “ugly” painting that a moment came when she glanced at it and suddenly knew what it needed. A few strokes of paint and it was transformed.
This is the painting that hangs in her bedroom and that she won’t sell.
The “Forever” Painting
I call this kind of painting a “forever” painting It’s one of those paintings you never forget. It emerged out of the ashes like the Phoenix. It wasn’t going to be bent to the will of the ego or the strategic mind. It insisted upon its own truth, its own expression.
Advice For Your Younger Self
Vikki said that she’d tell her younger self to “Be yourself” no matter what people around you are saying. Be the person that you are.
I believe that painting is a mirror and that it reflects our inner landscape. Indeed, it’s a wonderful vehicle for investigating your deeper self.
Imagine Yourself A Year From Now…What Would A Successful Year Look Like?
Vikki sees herself selling her work to a deeply connected group of buyers and collectors who find meaning and value in her art. She sees herself at a gallery show with bowls of candies too!
I think it’s valuable to envision exactly what you’d love to see for yourself in your art. Imagine your dream scenario in detail. Envision where you are, who you’re with and various specifics such as the time of day or night, what you’re wearing, the food and music or sounds around you and so forth.
One Piece Of Advice For Artists
Vikki’s #1 piece of advice for expressing you in your abstract art is: Don’t take your art too seriously. “Don’t make it too precious”.
Let go, be playful and have some fun!
You can find Vikki Drummond’s work here: www.vikkidrummondart.com
From my studio to yours,
[Postscript] Here are the eleven questions:
1) What’s your #1 strategy for getting visibility in your art?
2) What’s your #1 strategy for expressing YOU in your art (your voice, style, lexicon, gestures)?
3) What’s your #1 strategy for creating a consistent body of work?
4) What’s your #1 strategy for making time for your art?
5) What’s your #1 strategy for overcoming self doubt when you paint?
6) What’s your #1 strategy for keeping your art fresh?
7) What’s your #1 strategy for motivating yourself to paint?
8) What’s your #1 strategy for freeing yourself up in your art?
9) What’s your #1 strategy for giving yourself radical permission in your art?
10) What’s your #1 strategy for deciding when your painting is done?
11) What’s your #1 strategy for feeling confident in your art?
Also published on Medium.