The creative force
Finding my artistic voice.
When I retired from retail and selling art supplies I decided that I was going to paint what ever I could for one year and see what came out of it. I was delighted by what I was able to produce.
In the first part of the year, I experimented and tried different mediums. I did smaller works and tried collage, something I had always wanted to try. I didn't have a vision of what I was supposed to be doing. I did a lot of studies. I also did a lot of laundry, both real and metaphorical. I needed the time to clean my mind of all the preconceived notions about art.
The funniest thing happened! I discovered that the way I painted over ten years ago is the way I like to paint the most. Could this be my artistic voice? Could I have explored all my options and abilities only to discover that I had already found myself. Well, I guess you have to get lost every now and again to find your way back. I cringed every time I was compared to a prominent artist, and then I would try to find something that wasn't being portrayed already. When I was considered a plein aire impressionist, I was just one of hundreds of artist that painted that way, all showing on the same street. No one said "You paint just like so and so. We all painted alike, some with more finesse, some with better subjects, but essentially all in the same style.
Doing studies was something that wasn't in my arsonal of artistic tools. I learned more from the process than I did from the actual pieces. Technique is how you paint, passion is why you paint, and fear is why you stop. Creating a successful piece is getting a handle on all three.
I paint every day, now. I've found a way to divide the pieces that need to be serious art and pieces that just need to be painted. I'm kicking myself for not painting for the last ten years. I could be so much further along on this journey if I hadn't allowed myself to be detoured. I think the important thing for everyone, not just for artists, is to remember that every day is part of the journey. You've never arrived at your destination until the day you die, so you have to keep going after each day as if you are on the verge of a great discovery!