Taking the Lead vs. Being Led

January 26th, 2012

So, I seem to have two painting styles going at the same time.

It used to bug me, but I’ve decided to let them be for now. I realized while talking to a client recently where each style originates and it was kind of interesting.

I heard myself say, “These kinds of paintings happen when I take the lead (pointing to my more realistic paintings) and these kinds of paintings (pointing to my flatter, more abstracter style) emerge when I let the paintings take the lead.”

It’s true. And funny and weird. But really cool once I figured it out.

You see, most of the time I start painting with a clear idea in my head of what I want to achieve.

On a really, really good day, they come out looking something like this:

Which is great and I LOVE when that happens. Those kind of painting days makes being an artist feel really magical!

But on other days, usually when I have no idea of what to do, or I am really tired or uninspired, I’ll set up a canvas and say,”OK painting: what do you want me to do?” And I won’t make a move until an idea pops into my head.

And then I’ll do just that — put on a particular color, or shape, or what have you, and then I’ll stop and wait for the next suggestion. It can take a while but something always pops into my head. It’s important not to analyze or think about it too much.

I’ve done several paintings this way in the last couple of months, and I have to admit, at first they kind of scared me.

Because they were kind of, well, whimsical. Here I was trying to be a serious artist, digging down deep into my psyche and what comes out is — this? (see below)

To be honest, I was actually a little freaked out by them. In fact, I didn’t show these paintings to anyone for a while but when I did — people LOVED them.

More astonishingly, I’ve sold most of them.

And it occurred to me, later on, that it’s OK. After all, it’s not a bad thing to tap into my inner self and come up with playfulness, joyfulness, and innocence and yes, whimsy.

What was I expecting anyway!?!?

Does “deep” art have to be dark and full of angst? Why? Why did I think that? Who makes up these rules anyway???







Capturer of Souls, Acrylic on panel, 18 x 18″

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