Turn Up the Volume on the Inner Voice
Here is a common example of what may happen. You get all set up the night before and come in excited and energized the next morning ready to start. You look at the blank white surface and your first thought is “I want to splash the heck out of that blank white with a bright orange paint”. Your second thought sounds like “Are you out of your mind? That orange paint is expensive, and that sounds like a stupid idea. How about a nice green landscape instead?” Your job is to tell your second thought to take a hike, and follow your first directive – to splash orange all over the surface. Then after the splash, which may only take a few minutes, take a look at it. Your next first thought will come right away, and might be “Wow, that could use a couple of dark green marks”. The second thought says “this is dumb. I have some pressing errands to do and should stop now”. Again your main task is to always take action on the first thought, and tell the second thought or voice to take a hike. On this same painting surface, add some green marks, take a look at it, quickly listen to your next first thought. Repeat this process all on the same surface for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes take your exercise painting down from your easle, wall or table and put it away – out of sight so you can’t critique it. It’s only an exercise. Leave it alone and just keep piling them up one after another each morning. Now work on your regular studio work and forget about the exercise. Repeat each morning. This will strengthen your ability to make good clear painting decisions for your art – the paintings you are currently working on. The idea is that the inner or first voice is always right. It is just so used to being ignored that it isn’t coming in as strong as the second. The second thoughts are usually critical, judgmental, the parent voice, the one that keeps us from painting.
Please let me know how this is working for you if you decide to try it. You will know if it is helping by how your studio work progresses. Perhaps you will see an increase in production, or less creative blocks. The exercises themselves aren’t meant to turn out to be great masterpieces. I ended up throwing most of them away, and cutting up the rest for collage pieces. I am interested to know what comes up for you if you decide to give it a try.
Labels: Artist to Artist