Our work mirrors our behavior. Laziness, fear, energy, strategy…it is visible. We have to consider what our work should mirror and what not.
If we follow old paths, we arrive at old destinations. We can explore our own paths and still land at the old destination or get lost completely. That’s the risk.
But we could also arrive at our own destination or at least learn something along the way.
Either way, we learn by trying.
We learn by experimenting.
We learn by doing.
(We can replace “learn” with “find”).
There are a few things we can do if we fear the judgement of others about our art:
– Do not release it. No release, no judgement, no fear. That is easy.
– Do not release artworks that are totally fresh. We tend to like our latest work the most, especially when we tried something new. If the work gets older and the excitement decreases, our own opinion of the piece might change. We allow it to have some weaknesses because meanwhile we produced work that we like more. We are more critical and allow others to be as well. So release later.
– Release but prepare for the worst case. Practicing worst case scenarios is a great idea. What is the worst critique we can get? Let’s think about it and write down the critique. If someone say it, we are prepared. If not, we feel relieved and can handle the other things they say with more openness.
In generell it is also a good idea to think about the critic, his qualification and why we should care about his opinion.
When our skills become so good that we forget we’re actually using them, then the true joy of creation begins. Once skills can be applied intuitively, we can freely create and experiment.
In the planning for elaborate works or series, I like to create mood boards. Mood boards are collections of various images from the Internet, books or other media that capture the mood I’m looking for.
Also first sketches can be added, inspirations from similar projects, detail shots or similar. Almost everything that describes the project and makes it imaginable without directly entering the time-consuming execution phase. This allows projects to be evaluated and planned in advance.
I try to gather information for my upcoming paintings from current and past works. When I string them together I see the way I have already gone. In doing so, I clearly see the themes and motives that have occupied me for a long time or that I have only briefly examined.
Not visible is what has not crossed my path so far. This requires an analysis, as well as the realization that I have not reached the end of my journey, and the desire to find out where my path can lead me
If you feel something like “painter’s block”, a condition where you do not know how, what or why to paint and that stops you from painting at all, then please do it anyway. You can’t be blocked unless you can’t lift your arm and make a mark. Doing bad work is better than doing no work.
And if you start the process over and over again, you will learn, you will grow, you will create.
Rarely do I like my own pictures for a long time. There are a few that I like for months maybe a year. The motive, the execution, the emotions are in tune and form a coherent unity. And yet, the joy of completion and the quality achieved are completely challenged right from the beginning of each new painting. And I think that’s a wonderful thing.
I prefer to look at my past works with skepticism and recognize weaknesses and mistakes (from which I can learn), instead of looking at my works and thinking that I’m falling behind levels already reached. I take the side of my next picture, not the last. And so each painting is the enemy of all other paintings, even in my own oeuvre.
If you care (and I mean really care) about something that comes hard to you, it might be the thing that has the potential to bring you greatest joy, fulfilment or whatever you hope to get.
If art is the thing you love, you should never expect that times are coming when everything is easy. Masterpieces are flowing out of your brush, collectors are paying a lot to get them and people take them deep into their hearts. No, it will always be hard and great but not at the same time or when you expect it to be.
All the images that we call failures pave the way for a masterpiece. Bad pictures are important because they show us which pictures are good. In addition, they show us where we can start to improve the quality of the upcoming pictures. It’s a good idea to think about every failed picture instead of simply putting it away. They are teachers and often speak a clearer language than our successes.