Taking Chances with Style and Technique
Too often we fall into a safe rut with our artwork or creative endeavors, choosing subconsciously to stay with what we are familiar with. A portrait artist may tend to stay with portraits, a landscape artist with a certain landscape style or even region they paint. Over the years I have painted many landscapes and unfortunately at times find myself attempting to stay within a particular style or using the same mediums and colors.
As I have gotten older and perhaps more confident with my mediums I have gotten more eager to try new things and open to new directions. I have painted more people in the last few years than I ever have, I will try anything once, being unafraid to not succeed is the key to many recent successes. I have recently started to revamp a painting that had sat on my wall for many months waiting for a new direction. The painting is a simple landscape of Lake Ray Hubbard and the original image is a late afternoon moon rise over the lake. Originally there were the wild sunflowers in the foreground which were small and barely gave any direction in the painting. They turned into an area of flowers that didn't do much for the scene but maybe lessen and distract from any depth. I did like the direction the moon was taking and the light in the scene was headed somewhere but the foreground was just blah.
The painting sat unfinished, I even added flowers, deleted them, adjusted the light and the water but nothing seemed to spark the creative vision that originally motivated me to start painting. This particular image was not even sketched out or envisioned which might explain the loss of direction in painting it.
I drive through the country and see many sunflowers on a daily basis and have gotten the idea of a field of wild sunflowers with dashes of blues and violets. I thought of the image as a rough, almost violent scene of sunflowers in a simple field. Suddenly the image that lost all its inspiration became a place to throw paint and enjoy strokes of raw color. I didn't care about the quality of each flower or the grasses and detail it was more the whole image with the vibrance of the sunflowers and dashes of violent color and suddenly from no mood and direction an image finally appeared in my mind.
Another element that appeared in the new image was that of a young girl staring into the distance, the departure from the original and the chances I took with colors, style and subject matter turned something mundane into a vibrant place that restored my excitement and inspiration. I believe the creative mind needs to be challenged, pushed beyond its comfort zone and allowed to play.
The need to create what will be a masterpiece can often turn into a mundane task that loses all its vigor. Sometimes taking chances with color and form and having no fear of failing miserably is the shot of inspiration and passion a painting is desperately missing.
Have any other artists had the same process? Do you always know where the painting is going and how often are you surprised by the final work? Do you often enjoy just the process of playing with form and color instead of being afraid to not perfect the inspiration?