I used to just stumble around without direction, feeling really lost and incompetent. I knew I had the skills and I knew the general direction as to where I wanted to go with my art, it just wasn't happening. My work was uninspired. And then I discovered something by accident. David had the idea of me doing some smaller paintings one Valentines Day to mix it up and I ran to the store, bought some 12" x 12" canvases, and got to work. I stacked them all up on my easel and started painting. As usual, this idea came in the 11th hour and I had to paint quickly to meet my deadline. I worked moving from canvas to canvas and I discovered something: I liked these small little dudes and the freedom it gave me to let each idea come out onto the canvas as the idea popped in my head. I didn't get bored and frustrated trying to make an idea happen on a large scale. I just got to experiment and be curious and test out ideas. The canvases have gotten smaller, perhaps the ADD has gotten wilder, maybe I just need that much more change in process. My design background kicks in and I like shrinking down little paintings to their tiniest "thumbnail" canvases and seeing how they look as a whole.
And I think that's where this huge shift in my work started to happen. I no longer viewed each piece as pass/ fail, but as an experiment. I read over and over again that creatives start to fail when they stop being curious. The minute you start to operate in a formula mindset, the mentality of "this has been working for a while, so I'll keep repeating the same thing without seeking to grow this idea" is a very dangerous place- a place I want to be careful to not find myself in.
Here's a section of canvases I've been working on lately. See how some of them work together and some are completely different? Neurosis, my friends. Complete neurosis.
I get color palette overwhelm. While I'm painting, I'll see a gorgeous color palette on the brush or my paint cloth, or on the palette that I'm mixing and need to capture it quickly before the inspiration fades. I grab a little canvas, swish around the colors, and move back to the one I'm working on, or completely abandon the current project to work on the new idea because what's more exciting than something new?
Another process came out of this new discovery out of resourcefulness. I had chunks of paint left on my brush that I didn't want to waste, so I started swishing them on blank canvases and these really beautiful compositions started to form. So here's the process in action. I liked this little one and chose it to paint larger. The bottom paper became my swishing canvas and a new painting will get created as that composition comes together. So it's this great never ending cycle of ideas and inspiration. Pretty cool, huh?
Start experimenting! Read what others are doing and try a bunch of things and eventually, you'll discover your own process. Find a system that works for you, not against you. As an artist, you get to create your own rules and the more freedom you find in your own unique process, the more life your work will take on. I'm excited to see where this takes us! Tell me what you're doing and how it works for you!