Tag Archives: making art

Art Myths

ART MYTHS: a myth is an invented story, idea, or concept. Unfortunately many myths are accepted as reality or truth, and thus have a negative impact on our actions. I present a few of these myths here

Art Myth #1. Creativity is an inborn gift, and only a few possess it.

To begin to examine this myth, let us define a few terms:

Create:  To cause something to come into being as the result of one’s own thought or imagination.

Creativity: The process by which one utilizes creative ability.

Creative: Having the quality or power to create. Exhibiting originality of thought.

Originality: Ability to think or express oneself in an independent and individual manner.

Imagination: The faculty of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.

REALITY : To be creative, one must have the power to create (cause something to come into being), and this is a power that all humans possess. Yes, creativity is an inborn gift, a gift that we, as human beings, have all been given.

Notice also that there is no mention of coming up with something completely new, something that has never been seen before.

 Art Myth #2. Creation always involves the invention of something new.

The belief in this myth can bring on a form of creative paralysis, because the invention of something totally new is virtually impossible.

REALITY : There is nothing that springs from nothing. Our ideas come from what we have seen, what we have experienced, what we have read, what we have heard, people we have known, places we have been, art we have seen, music we have enjoyed. We take these ideas and make them our own, interpret them in our own way, but the initial inspiration comes from somewhere outside ourselves. Part of being creative is being observant and gathering those ideas and images that resonate with us.  I am drawn to the horizon line, how it functions in a composition and it’s metaphorical possibilities. I am surely not the first artist to use the horizon in my work.  I didn’t discover the horizon.  The fact that George Morrison did horizon based paintings that I admire greatly does not mean that when I create a composition that uses horizontal lines I am copying his work.

Click here to see 11 more Myths

Weekly Drawings Challenges

As we retooled the  Weekly Drawing Project during our ( me, Shirle Bedient, Ronnie Offen) annual week on Amelia Island, we added a labelling component, and also came up with a list of “challenges” as a way of further expanding our explorations.  At this point, there are 19 challenges on the list, and we are each to tackle any 12 of them at any time during the coming year.

1. Draw on found paper

2. Drawing of found object(s)

3. Shoes

4. Continuous line.

5. Metallic

6. Conveying a message

7. Something you don’t want to draw

8. 20 minute drawing

9. Music

10. Shadows

11. Nerd’s eye view

12. Bird’s eye view.

13. Texture

14. Drawing with natural materials

15. Outside In.

16. Design a wine bottle label

17. In today’s paper.

18. Food

19. Stolen From ___________________

Chuck Close quote

This is my current favorite quote….absolutely right on. I have it mounted on my drawing table, and read through it every day before I begin working.  

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anyone who will listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.  Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work.  If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work.  All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.  Things occur to you.  If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens.  But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction.  Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive.  You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.”

                        Chuck Close

Richard Diebenkorn

“I don’t go to the studio with the idea of “saying” something.  

What I do is face the blank canvas and put a few marks on it

that start me on some sort of dialogue.”

Richard Diebenkorn


34 Starts

34 Starts

This past week-end I taught a 2-day workshop about my process of making (building) acrylic/collage paintings. As my process is to work layer upon layer, which, of course requires drying (and thinking) time, it doesn’t work to demonstrate making a painting straight through, start to finish.   It was necessary to both bring a variety of starts and demonstrate starts, second steps, third steps, etc. etc.

So now I have 34 new small (12″X12″ and 11″X14″) paintings going, all in various stages of completion. I could hardly wait to get my workshop tubs unloaded so I could start painting.


Making Better Art

I have added a new collection of pages entitled Making Better Art, where I am beginning to assemble my vast accumulation of random thoughts on the topic into some sort of coherent order.

Aesthetic experience

“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.” 
― Ken Robinson

More good advice

“Never be so focussed on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.”

Ann Patchett, as her character Dr. Annick Swenson in STATE OF WONDER. The character is actually referring to scientific research with this statement, but the idea is 100% applicable to making art, not only those who do intuitive/experimental art, but to all artists.

Evolution #2

Another largish (36″X36″) painting begun.  The earlier Evolution of a Painting sequence was my first time to do that type of set-by-step documentation of a piece, and I found it to be fun and quite helpful, so here begins another. What seems to be happening here is one of those “finding order” processes.  The first step was to create a basically chaotic surface on which to work, find or create some images, then find or create some order within that chaos. It is still early in the process, so I haven’t settled on anything as yet, just enjoying the excitement of the exploration.


The Tyranny of Success

In an earlier post, a listing of Demons that plague all artists, I mentioned success as a frequent stumbling block.  On the surface it seems strange to consider success to be a potential issue, but there are two particular aspects of success that can cause problems.

1. Falling in love with a part of your painting early on in the process.  The danger is that the dynamic of the painting process can change from the successful completion of the piece as a whole to protecting that fabulous part of the piece. The first thing you need to do is be aware of this possibility so you can recognize when it is happening. Secondly, take a photo of that section so that you can  store it for future consideration, thus freeing yourself from the fear of losing it.  Then continue to work on the piece as a whole, retaining that section or not, as the painting requires.  Take the time later to study the photograph to determine what it is that you liked so much about it and hopefully the answers to that question will become stored in the right side of your brain and come through again…….in an entire painting.

2. Winning an award/getting into a prestigious show/words of praise from someone you respect….. potential stumbling blocks if this leads you  to limit your work to repeating the same “successful” pieces. I am not referring to working in series and exploring different aspects of a particular idea, I’m talking about becoming tied to what you perceive to be a successful “formula” and hesitating  to step outside that proven formula for fear of not being successful.

“Success is dangerous.  One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.  It leads to sterility.”  Pablo Picasso

“Don’t carpet your rut.”  Gerald Brommer

%d bloggers like this: