Have you ever felt that you default to one perspective, one compositional ratio, or one color palette? Do you look at your body of work and feel it becoming routine or repetitive? Finding the healthy balance between perfection-creating practice and feeling that your work is one-dimensional is crucial to long term success. We all know that practice makes perfect, time and time again we can see the improvement generated by study. Yet, humans tend to be creatures of habit and that same dedication can devolve into a sense of the creative doldrums. Learning how to perfect your craft and pushing yourself to expand your horizons will not only encourage you to grow as an artist but it will keep your overall level of enthusiasm about your art high!
Try a New Medium
They say that variety is the spice of life, but did you know it also works to jazz up your creative spirit as well? Take a look at our previous post this month for some ideas on different mediums that might be a nice departure from the norm without going too far in the other direction. Often our standard practice veers from practice to routine. We pick up the same pencil, sketch out the same portrait from the same angle, and find ourselves practicing the same thing – but not necessarily progressing. A new medium can spark new ideas or stimulate creativity merely by forcing ourselves to disrupt that pattern behavior. Try sketching out your warmups with charcoal instead of graphite. Do 5 minute figure studies using paint instead of conte crayon. You might find yourself applying different stroke techniques that lend a new feel to your work while still developing practice. Colby is a master of quick paint sketches! You can learn more about his practice in his class A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT!
Often times we get too close to our art, we begin a piece and we crouch closer and closer until our noses are almost in the paint! We can obsess over small details and quickly migrate from giving the feeling of draped silk on a dress to overworking the heck out of it sheerly through too much attention focused in one area. Much of creativity is rooted in observation – we watch geese fly in a v-shaped formation through a clear blue sky. We sit in awe at a waterfall rushing over rocks and plunging down the side of a rugged cliff. We admire the way sunlight sparkles through hair in a breeze and the warm glow of afternoon light on skin. Put your art supplies down and go observe with the intent to really, truly, deeply take witness the living magic that you are working towards capturing.
Take a Class
Even the most experienced artists further their education on a regular basis! Never assume you are beyond the point of learning, playing and exploring. Attend a lecture, listen to an art podcast or sign up for a new class! New creative inputs can help you hone and refine your creativity and your skillset. Every artist approaches their art and creativity in general in a unique fashion. If you create alone, being in a community setting might bring up new energy or encourage you to push a little harder as you observe other students. Pulling that into your mental palette and mixing it with existing knowledge can translate to added depth and range in your work. Perhaps you learn how to use a new (physical) tool, or you shift how you paint with a live model because your understanding of the model-painter relationship changes, broadening your mental toolbox is always a worthy way to add dimension! To view our online classes go HERE. To listen to our podcast go HERE.
Observation can be internal as well as external. Are you recreating the same work out of fear of something new? Are you reluctant to branch out into a larger size canvas? Is there something occurring in your day-to-day life that has you blocked from evolving from your current work? Are you forcing yourself to create on a schedule or at a time that doesn’t really suit you currently? Our creativity is often strongly affected by our emotional state, for better or for worse, being in tune with what’s happening on the inside is key. We may be able to find inspiration from our own feelings that adds depth and authenticity to our finished work. We may also be able to push past certain hesitations to shift our art to a new level both aesthetically and skill-wise.
Let us know how these tips work for you or if you discover something else that helps you hone your creativity and refine your finished pieces in the comments below!
Until next time....