How do you find the road to success in your art? By that I mean, how do you find the way of working that brings you the best results?
Several years ago a subscriber emailed me saying:
"I have taken a few hands-on courses – ALL of these look good at the start, but when you get there they have a pile of stuff on a table – DRAW ALL THIS – Great where do I start?"
You may have run into something similar in a class you've taken.
Or you may have asked yourself that same question – Where do I start? – as you began a new project.
Art can seem like one of those crazy juggling acts where the guy is trying to keep a bunch of very different objects all airborne at the same time.
Trying to learn the road to success that incorporates idea, design, drawing, color, values and edges into something coherent can feel like that.
"I have trouble finishing paintings. It is easier to start another painting than to resolve the problems that I see in the first painting or I just do not know what the first painting needs."
And add to that mix any subconscious beliefs you may have that art and/or life should be hard.
"…I do think talent only develops through hard work."
Is it any wonder we can struggle so much in our beginning years and beyond?
These particular quotes emerged as I was sifting through the store of emails I've received over the years from subscribers.
(Yes, I do save most of the messages I receive.)
I was looking for patterns.
I wanted to see if there were common themes that would give me ideas for topics to cover or training to provide that would point you down your own road to success.
Like the shortcuts I know that can take you many years to discover. (I may say more about these another time.)
As you might expect there were a number of areas where people were having trouble.
But far and away the largest group of emails centered around the topic of simplifying.
"I really would like to learn how to simplify my paintings and drawings; otherwise I end up trying to put everything in without discrimination or choice."
"One of my personal barriers is the need to BE PERFECT...so I focus too much on details and making what I do look "realistic" all of the time."
"This is a very important lesson that I just don't seem to master and yet it is so fundamental to creating the type of art that I am striving to achieve."
I don't know about you, but these all resonate with me. Learning the lessons of simplicity are what set my creativity free.
And that allowed me to produce the kind of work I am proud of.
Founder of BeginningArtist.com
(Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. George Bernard Shaw)
P.S. While you may not realize it, the road to success is paved with learning to change and simplify reality so that opens the door to your imagination.
"I don't seem to have any imagination, and do all my paintings from photos, and they never look quite right."
Learning to change and simplify can also open the door to greater self-confidence.
What do you think it would feel like to never be chained to only what you see in front of you?
How much more powerful would that make you feel?