Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tapping into the Creative

I've been a professional artist since 2004.  One of the things I've learned over the years is the importance of tapping into the Creative. It is very easy to become complaisant and avoid taking risks. Every artist does it. Somewhere along the line, you find something that works and you stick with it. Problem is, eventually that becomes stagnant, causing you to fall into a cycle of self-loathing and blank canvas.  I can't tell you how many times (early on) that I got caught up in this cycle.  I would crank out pieces that would sell and then eventually the well would dry up. When things would get quiet, I was certain my muse had taken a hike and I had lost the ability to tap into the creative.  Nothing could be further from the truth. It was those times that I was recharging my proverbial muse battery.  It is in the quiet spaces that we eventually see the biggest breakthroughs.  Those are the times that need embracing. Over the last few years, my art has changed dramatically. I went from primarily illustrative works in the fantasy genre (nothing wrong with that) to mixed media and abstract acrylic. Huge leap into the unknown and huge leap of faith on my part. Some have accepted this change and others have not. I've had others tell me they like my illustrative works better. I've had some approach me to illustrate books and are very surprised when I say, I don't do that kind of art anymore. I always add that I may go back to it at some point in time, if the muse allows me to.  I think it was Neil Young that said, "I don't work for anyone but the muse."  And, I have to agree.  I've definitely let many opportunities slip right though my fingers, both consciously and unconsciously, simply because, I wasn't inspired.  I knew I wouldn't grow if I took that gig, so I left it alone and moved on to what I wanted to do. So, where am I going with this?

Recently, I began exploring abstract art.  I've been dabbling at it with my mixed media pieces, but haven't jumped in until recently.  I had hit a wall, where I felt totally burnt out. I was trying too hard to control the form that somewhere along the line, I was loosing the message. So, I decided that I would just paint. I often paint to music, as it helps me connect to energies within the melody.  This time, I would not use brushes, but my fingers, a pallet knife and other materials.  The result was truly mind blowing and opened up my world. In one week, I created 8 works of art! I couldn't believe how incredible it felt to just create without any thing in mind. When I stepped back from each piece, I began to see the messages coming though loud and clear. It wasn't about what I thought I was seeing, but how the paintings made me feel.  What a breakthrough. I almost didn't want to name the pieces for fear the titles would influence the audience. So, now when I create an abstract, I want to know how you feel, not what you think you are seeing. Because, how you feel is so much more important. If what I paint uncovers something deep within you, then I have done my job.