If Steps #1 & #2 of FINDING YOUR OWN PAINTING STYLE are finding elements in other’s work that one really likes and gleaning some or all of these into one’s own style, then the next step has got to be: Do the opposite of that and just ALLOW YOURSELF TO PLAY!
I was talking to artist (and lovely person!) Brian Simons (www.briansimons.com) recently when my sister and I visited his studio open house in Victoria. We had taken a great course from him last year as we both really like his work: it is loose, playful, colourful and always fresh! After a nice chat, his parting words of wisdom were: “Keep painting and just have fun with it.” Further words of wisdom from his workshop came rushing back to me: “DON’T LET THE WORK BECOME “PRECIOUS”.
Have fun and don’t let the work become precious! Why does this seem so hard to me!? Even Brian confessed that it took him 35 years to figure this out and judging from other artists I’ve spoken to the “precious-ification of the work” is a common affliction. I know there are many reason behind this, one being that we’re taught that “perfection” is something to which we should aspire from quite a young age. I know intellectually that this is a soul-sucking game but retraining is a slow process. And, I am willing to keep at it!
Right. So….. in addition to my pledge to do a painting a month for the next 5 months (this one is half way through already… YIKES!) I’m going to “give myself permission” to just play on the canvas. I’m going to LET GO of the agenda of selling the work or even the need to show anyone else.
I’ll let you know how it goes!