We all need variety and inspiration in our creative lives. That change need not necessarily be "spicy" as the old adage drones, but it must be located "right of center" in terms of our own normal day-to-day experience and expectations. Simply put... a challenge is in order... to excite and inspire.
Getting back from annual lazy Christmas sojourns often leads one to feel flat... uninspired... or unmotivated. Many of you have your own strategies to combat these creative setbacks. Each is likely unique to your own interests and goal-seeking. I enjoyed my Scottish water colorist friend Keith Tilley's recent post which described his plan of attack... and success in leaping into the New Year with renewed enthusiasm and vitality. Might be worth taking a look... if you are still struggling with this problem. Keith Tilley's fine site "Painting on the Edge" ... well worth a look-see!
In this post, I hope to present my own approach to overriding creative blocking. I refer to it simply as "shifting gears". Same bike... just adjustments to pace... and landscape interests. I would offer that my painting process/style accommodates two approaches. One style is very structured... planned to the last detail and with some deeper personal layer of purpose and meaning. Most subjects are, or have a still life quality... despite being landscapes. They are usually very "quiet" on the surface... meditative... as Deb blissfully suggests. She loves these.
The other is... let's call it as it is - "frenetic"... dependent upon intuition and impulse rather than complete control. Most of these paintings quite literally seem to "paint themselves". They are "painterly" and strong in color usually... because I heighten the color impact by beginning uncharacteristically on black toned canvases or panels.
This approach is totally driven by my imagination and mood."Imagineering" is the term I use to describe this process. This painting method can be accomplished either in the field (plein air)... or replicated in style in the studio. This is the value of of a lengthy "schooling" in the outdoors... in all seasons and weather conditions.
One of the crossover paths that I have lately committed to follow... is that I will no longer accept commission work. While it was necessary... and lucrative at one point in my life and painting career... I no longer have that need. Neither do I have the desire, nor the ambition to paint what someone else wants or envisions. This is not intended as a negative response to commission work... it is simply a declaration that ... I have done my time and now have earned the right to paint my path to the end of the road under my own flag... and terms.
I will dedicate that time that I used to commit to commission work to my winter works program. This program is dedicated entirely to the development of "bread n' butter" offerings for the Gallery which combine with Deb's handcrafted lines to create a more predictable cash flow. They are created and designed to fit the budgets of travelling tourists. They are not in themselves.... "objets d' art" in my view. I can produce them quickly... and replace them quickly if required. They are... inventory.
Everyone has... or should have their own path or strategies. If one is truly a "working artist"... not a hobbyist, then one's working method must involve commitment... and a business plan that is not dependent upon one event... or the possibility of on line sales as a mainstay.
Selling art... as a livelihood is a highly competitive crap shoot. It is pyramidal in nature at best. Imitation will only place you amid the crowd.... likely nearer the bottom of the heap. Beyond the financial perspective... you will ALWAYS know... inside at least... the real truth. The only real reason to create... is to be original.
I will sign off today's post using a mix of the paintings that I have created during this past week. Each of these smallish paintings and sketches fit into the "bread n' butter" classification. But...I have purposely not categorized them according to the two styles. Can you discern which style they fit into?
I wonder... Get back to me if you are interested.
Good Painting!... to ALL!!!
"Action Central, Gananoque" - oil on canvas 14 x 11 inches
"Failing Light, Tamworth" - 8 x 10 inch oil on on toned birch cradle board
"Winter Evening Light and Shadows, Ivy Lea Park" - oil on toned birch cradle board
"Rivafest, Gananoque" - 11 x 14 inch oil on canvas