As a teacher of abstract painting, I see recurring themes in artist’s struggles with their art. One of these is the sentiment: “I feel like my art doesn’t measure up to what I want it to be”.
There are 4 big traps that artists face in their life cycle as artists. These are the places where artists get stuck.
Today, we’ll cover one of those traps in the video training and blog post below.
To see the rest of the free training with 3 other common traps artists face, register >>> HERE.
The Technique Trap- aka Empty Virtuosity
This is the story you tell yourself which is: I’ll become a great artist once I learn all the techniques. The reason I’m not great yet is because I don’t have all the techniques. I need to learn the secrets.
Another variation on this narrative is: “If I buy the right tools and supplies I’ll get better at art”.
So you go from workshop to workshop, technique to technique, art store to art store…for years. It’s like searching for the Holy Grail.
You think that art is technique…but one day you realize that art is not technique.
No amount of technique has gotten you closer to expressing your deepest art.
You take technique classes and find that your art begins to look like everyone else’s- repetitive and formulaic.
For years I pursued technique. I thought if I learned the right technique, I’d finally make paintings that wowed me and my viewers.
But it was an elusive thing…and before I knew it, my paintings looked strategic, contrived, as if I was following a formula.
Eventually, I got bored. The paintings, while technically good, just didn’t move me emotionally.
One day, I had a breakthrough. I was fed up with repetitive paintings.
I had a dream.
One night, I had a dream of continuous line. The next morning, I created a 26 piece assemblage of exploratory studies investigating minimal line and marks. At first, I felt uncomfortable. The studies didn’t look “finished” and yet I realized that they had an immediacy and aliveness that I had never preciously attained.
I allowed the exploratory works to just be, to “live”, as is. This was an enormous breakthrough. I also realized the power of working in a series rather than making one painting precious.
New Belief : Becoming a great artist is about the movement of coming closer and closer to who you are.
It’s about reaching your fullest potential expression of who you are in your art.
The secret to this is not technique.
No amount of technique will get you there.
Technique is only there to facilitate expression- it is not expression itself.
You can’t lead with technique.
What takes you there is the willingness to experiment which is based on trusting yourself.
What does this look like? It looks like exploration, searching and finding your way, experimenting, allowing for the awkward and “ugly” paintings that inevitably emerge. It’s about activating a sense of wonder and an attitude of “allowing” in your art.
New Belief Summary: The answer is inside YOU and it always has been. Being an artist is about continually evolving and reaching your fullest self expression. It’s an inner journey of self-expression.
With gratitude from my studio to yours,
P.S. Want inspiration and encouragement to get into your studio and create your deepest art? Grab a copy of my latest book The Artist’s Journey and get access to the free companion video trainings in my Book Resource library for readers of my book. CLICK >>> HERE to get your copy.
P.S.S. If you’d like to go deeper in your art, join us in The Artist’s Journey course. Here’s the link to learn more>>> The Artist’s Journey.