Saturday, December 13, 2008
Wow! It's the middle of December already! I am unusually busy this year, with a great mix of projects. I just got back from painting this mural in a clinic in St. Cloud, Minnesota. It is in their new Meditation Room. The staff got to choose from several samples, and many of them checked in to see it while it was underway. I am often asked if it bothers me to be watched or interrupted, to which I reply, "If I wanted to work all by myself, I could stay home in my studio and make gallery art."
The truth of it, is that I like to take some of the mystique out of the artistic process. People say I am so talented, and if art talent is a genetic thing, then I come from a good gene pool, but painting is something I didn't really do until I was a twenty-something sign painter. I learned a lot of drawing and calligraphy skills from my high school art teacher, but only did a few paintings, and mostly in poster style. He never saw a talent for landscape painting in me, and it wasn't until I needed to do illustrations on signs that I began to teach myself to paint. The point is, I don't think painting is as much an inborn talent, as it is a skill developed through practice, based on good drawing skills, which I know can be taught.
Pick up a copy of Betty Edwards' book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and do the lessons. Ten to thirty minutes each day, and you will find that drawing is simply learning to see things as they truly appear (do not even mention your lack of stick-figure ability, unless you are wanting to learn to draw stick figures.) I have learned from this book, and taught from it, so I know it works. Once you learn to draw, painting is a matter of experimentation. If you don't know where to start experimenting, Bob Ross, though gone from this world, is still available on video through art, craft and book stores. His techniques, combined with seeing skills will make anyone successful.
If you think you aren't creative, or don't have time to be, there's even a book for that. Pick up a copy of The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, and see what's really behind many a functioning artists "talent". There was a time in my life when my only creative outlets were a job in advertising, and the clothes and make-up I wore to that job. I was cute and I was successful, but I wasn't really creatively fulfilled. I first did the twelve weeks of Artist's Way in '92, and have used the techniques, mostly a lot of list-making and time-finding skills, continually since then. I am doing the full course for the third time right now, but with a group, this time. It's a great tool for self-discovery, and intended for anyone who wants a more creative life, not just "Capital A" artists.
Maybe you could put these on your wish-list for Christmas this year, and then as a New Year's resolution, you could resolve to give them a chance. Do the Artist's Way, first, and you will find that it will create time for you to do all the important things, including those creative things that you keep putting on the back burner. This is Someday. Wow. Isn't this some day?! Make it joyful!