Friday, September 5, 2014

ADD Painting Process

  The more I learn about being productive as an artist, the more I stumble on the importance of process, and even more important is your own special process you use to create your work. It's exciting when you find your way, your voice, your path to tell your story over and over. And it's really exciting to see it morph and grow as you grow.

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. 

After I finish these, I sit with them a while and decide which ones I want to paint big or post them in the shop as options for customers to select their own size. And what's more fun than being able to pick which size you want?

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!

6 comments :

  1. This is inspiring! And so is your art--I loooove the colors. I have struggled with feeling my photography needs to look a certain way or contain certain subjects for it to be considered "artistic," but more recently I've felt freer allowing myself to photograph what I really like to photograph. For instance, I love photographing flowers, despite them being so cliché as a photography subject. At first I felt like apologizing for it, but now I'm allowing myself to just enjoy it, and to try new things without so much pressure to perfectly represent the flower or have everything technically correct in my photo. It's fun to go back to the same gardens over and over knowing that I can still get new pictures each time. I can be more experimental and it opens my mind a little more each time.

    PS I'm a friend of Brenda's--that's how I linked over to your Instagram and blog. :)

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    1. Jessica- thanks so much for commenting and sharing your process!! I love hearing what other creatives do to keep the juices flowing!! I get the fear of the cliche thing. I read a quote by Col. Sanders (yes, the chicken guy of all people!) once that said "If you do the extraordinary thing in and extraordinary way, then you will capture the attention of the world." Preach, Colonel! I think you hit the nail on the head- letting go and releasing that fear of getting it perfect leads to beautiful wonderful things!! Keep sharing and stay in touch - so glad we connected through the Brens!!

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    2. Thanks for responding! (Something so rare at blogs these days. :D) That's true--I have seen some really beautiful photos of flowers that remind me of all the possibilities even with such a common subject.

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  2. THIS! "I used to just stumble around without direction, feeling really lost and incompetent." I've felt this way many of nights and wanted to just give up. Things are evolving in my art practice thankfully and like you eluded to, it started in my mind and is now making its way to the canvas. Experimenting is key for me and I know with constant making things will sort themselves out beautifully and my tribe of art collectors will find my work and lovingly receive it. Thank you for sharing this. ***hugs and hi5s**

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    1. Hurray, Ms. Clay! Girl, it's all a stumble and fall and keep going. I saw that you had posted the Ira Glass quote video on your blog. I keep repeating that to myself when I get really discouraged- "It's gonna take a while" has helped me push through some frustrating walls. I want to keep growing and morphing and it's really painful at times when it's public and people can watch you grow and compare your new better work to older not so good work that YOU PUT ON THE INTERNET for the world to see- yikes! I feel ya and am growing with you! Thank you for keeping in touch and commenting! I'm super jazzed to see where you go!!! I love your passion and heart!!!

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  3. Thanks for this post. Really. I'm gonna try the little canvas technique!

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