“Make friends with others who make art, and share your in-progress work with each other frequently”.
Art & Fear, Bayles & Orland
A couple of years ago, I was feeling like I hit a plateau in my art. I felt as though I lacked direction and really wasn’t sure what I was trying to say to the world, if anything. I started looking for a class or workshop, online and locally, to learn more techniques to see if that would help. While I learned new techniques, I still felt as though something was missing. I wanted my creations to be more complex, more sophisticated. I wasn’t even sure what that meant, but I knew there was a longing inside, something was missing in my creative process.
It was my process! I didn’t really have one. I am inspired by a variety of things based on my emotions in the moment. Sometimes, I’m inspired by a soft, fluffy girl in a pink tutu. The next day, I’m feeling grungy and edgy inside and a grungy girl ends up on my canvas. I felt that my pieces were disjointed and seemingly not cohesive but I found that it is in my process where they connect.
In My Art Story, I reference the art mentoring group, ELEVATE, hosted by David Limrite. It is through this group that my entire approach to painting has blossomed. I found that I didn’t need new techniques. I needed critique!! I needed someone to gush and ooh and ahh, but then I needed them to say, “What if…?”
What if you worked in a limited color palette?
What if you wrote in different size font THROUGH your figure?
What if you paint over your figure and then bring it back again and again?
What if you turned it upside down?
Then, I needed to say, “Why not?”
I find I am often too enmeshed in my work that I simply don’t ask myself the “what if” question. This group was great for that! There was safety in being vulnerable to put our work out there to each other, receiving and offering feedback, entering the space with heart and mind open to new ideas that we could take or leave as we desired.
I have to admit, I was terrified the first time I took a “what if” and painted over a figure to then try to bring it back. It didn’t work the first time, but I tried again and, guess what?! It worked! It was exciting! It was new! Now, I can do it again and again and the more I do it, the more new things come. Then, I tried more “what ifs” and more new, exciting things appeared! I found the combination of fear of the unknown combined with attempt extremely thrilling.
My point of this narrative is really to express the value I found in participating with other artists who also desired the same kind of feedback. Artists who were willing to put themselves out there, be vulnerable, feel exposed, but in the safety of like-minded individuals, share their work with the intention of learning from and growing in their creative process.
Do you want to say “What if, Why not?” with me?
I have created a What If, Why Not Facebook Group just for this. The purpose of the group will be to offer each other a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to advance our art making process. The group requires commitment, confidentiality, willingness to give and receive advice and ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. It is not a class, group coaching or a networking group. While I will facilitate the group, the agenda belongs to the group. We are partners in the process together, our own community of support, brainstorming together to take our creativity to new heights. The group will initially be limited to 25 members.
Are you ready for your first “What if?” More importantly, are you ready to say, “Why not?” Message me to learn more about participating in an online What If, Why Not Critique Group.