Art taps emotion. Yours. You are going to be far better at making a connection with a viewer, not to mention continuing to have fun, if you are creating work that you are passionate about.
But to do that, you have to accept your path toward the creation. Gently. Letting each piece have a life of its own.
The Mod Coat Lesson OR How I Lost My Artistic Vision
Two years ago, I found a coat at thrift store. Thrift shopping is one of my “creative” adventures. Covered in giant pink and green flowers, this raincoat shouted Twiggy ‘60’s Mod. I was in love with the coat.
Then someone said, “Now that LOOKS like you got it at a thrift shop.”
The big blazing buzzer of bad-taste-alarm blasted in my brain. I wanted to look cool thrift shop, not thrift- shop thrift shop. Soon after, I tossed the coat in the trash. I miss the coat. I should have put the coat in the closet. If I did that, I'd have remembered why I loved it.
"But here’s the secret about passion: passion isn’t that feeling you get when you first try something. That's excitement. Excitement doesn't last. Passion comes with commitment.
Sometimes You Have to Put Your Art In the Closet to Respect Your Vision
At first, just like when I bought the Mod Coat, I intuitively made art I loved.
Like the coat, I took the art out for all to see. But, alas, as with the coat, I watched for reactions and listened to comments.
Which took away my vision. I wanted to make my art “better like theirs.”
I was unaware. Unaware that my art voice was unique, that it would evolve over time, and that my technique would improve. So unaware that essentially, I threw my art in the trash, just like the coat. I didn't commit to myself. It was like wandering around a store, trying to find a coat that looked like "theirs." After I had already found the one I loved.
I could have simply put my art aside, being gentle with myself, as my artistic vision emerged.
Can you be gentle and patient with yourself?
A Short Exercise in Finding Artistic Vision
in this exercise, I decided to let the art emerge entirely intuitively over a course of a couple of hours. I had to know when to put it aside. Try doing the same. Here are the steps. Use your own materials.
I started as I usually do with layers of paint and collage. I have no idea what this is.
At this point I was confused. I didn't know if I liked this at all and I felt the urge to throw it away. My instincts wanted a landscape with animals, but I doubted this would work.
That's when I decided to respect what I had done, and put it aside.
It helps to stop struggling when you feel confused or frustrated. Intuitively, you know what you want to create. But like working with many puzzle pieces, you will visually become confused.
Eventually you will turn to learning more about the techniques that help you fulfill your goals. But there are many moments of wonder and intuitive art pieces between here and there for you to love.
Gently put the piece away to recall what you loved about the creation in the first place.
Now, years later, I have looked back at pieces and thought, "That's not bad at all!" I notice that a consistent look and feel emerges as I stop demanding so much of myself.
The Final Piece. I like it. I feel the emotions of my love for animals and the outdoors. And has the colors I love. Another step toward my vision.
May you be gentle with yourself as you intuitively move toward your unique vision. Set work aside. Return to it. Enjoy.