I am delighted to see 2023 become history. The new year has arrived and with it, I hope my artistic plateau will jar itself into some bursts of creativity that will leave behind the sluggish pattern I have fallen into.
2023 is in the past …
Throughout my art career, I have always had a idea for painting that was exciting. And then that idea had always been followed by others that were even better. My classical musician’s series segued into jazz musicians, then individuals, then dancers, and on and on.
But I found 2023 was a major slowdown for me. I could not launch into my next great idea. I was stuck on past themes. I had worked through
- people in crowds,
- people alone,
- street scenes,
You name it and I bet I painted it (though I must admit machinery leaves me cold.) I played with colors, shapes, lines, motion, still life until finally, I wound up redoing past themes in different ways using different techniques because nothing new played on my horizon.
I cannot say that much has changed, that suddenly I had new ideas for a series. Yes, I began a cartoon series that is still fun. But painting is still what I love but the “best is yet to come” hasn’t come yet.
There is hope
I have not given up hope. In reevaluating sketches, old paintings, etc. I think that I slowly messed up by getting tighter and more realistic. Instead of exuberance, I see flat and boring. I cannot tolerate boring art –especially when it is my own. But the non-objective workshop I recently took has been a good nudge in the right direction. Not to worry – there will always be realism in my art.
Perhaps one reason artists get in their rut is because they – me- start becoming frugal with our tools. We squirt out minimal paint, our canvases get smaller, as do our brushes. Expansive brushwork becomes tight. We second-guess ourselves as to how others will see and judge our work. We get cautious and conservative when we should throw caution to the winds. We quit thinking outside the box and hunker down inside it. We kill the joy.
How do we change? Of course, one answer is mentally open ourselves up to exploring new ways of thinking about our art. Another way may be as simple as buying many more tubes of paint than we need.
We have to use the paints before they get dried up or gummy (talking about acrylics) so you have to force yourself to use your big brushes and start throwing paint around. (I am not talking to you, super realists. We have opposing mindsets -this is for me to be doing.)
Then we can start by drawing that future image with lots of ink or paint and especially enthusiasm. I call it brainstom painting. You are not creating a coloring book. You are creating art. Bold art can always be tightened up. Not so sure the reverse works.
What’s Next in 2024
So now that I have given myself a pep talk, I have to follow through. I am ready for my art to pull out the viewer’s emotions, not his left brain analyzing “how does she do that?”
I will stumble but I won’t fall. If I do, I will throw the canvas on the floor, throw paint on it, get down on my hands and knees, and smear that lovely paint around with my hands and knees! And maybe create a masterpiece!
Then maybe I will have a happy new year at least in my art. Get ready!
Don’t miss my show during January 2024 at the Downing-Gross Culture Center, in Newport News, Virginia. If you’re in downtown Newport News, it’s a lovely place to stop in and visit during lunchtime.