Yay first blog post! I'm going to write this as if no one will read it. Not because I'm pessimistic, but because I think I'll be more honest. I'm also going to set the intention for this new blog of mine to be a place for me to reflect on what I'm working on, and to share my current work with who ever is interested.
I get asked to do commission work a lot. Most of the time it's for portraits, but I was approached recently by a long time friend to do something totally out of my comfort zone. She wanted blue, a little orange, and abstract.
There are so many times I've heard people say, "Hell, I could do that!" when they see an abstract piece of art. And I'll admit a part of me thought that too. But once you're faced with a blank canvas and nothing to ... well... copy, you get stuck.
I knew this commission was going to be fun, and I knew it was going to be challenging. But I completely underestimated how difficult it was for me to truly be creative. Throughout the process of research and sketching I found myself completely questioning my abilities. Not my ability to recreate the natural world around me, but my ability to be so creative that I create something entirely new.
It made me realize that I am a product of my environment. Now I'm not blaming anyone on my inability to paint an abstract picture. Let me explain myself.
I grew up being praised for the artwork that looked real. And in all levels of school being tested on facts. Your answer is either right, or wrong. I wasn't a very good student so I got used to being wrong. Even in college, creativity didn't seem to come so easily with the limitations of projects. There was little room for ambiguity in schools and I think every adult can agree with that. Unfortunately not allowing kids to express their ideas without judgment or correction creates adults who don't know how to think creatively. I know that's a whole other can of worms.. so I'll stop there.
Working on this commission felt like I had to unlearn everything I already knew about art. I had to be ok with not knowing entirely what the final outcome will be. I had to dig really deep to rediscover imagination, and I had to play. It felt childlike. And it felt really good.
This artwork is currently waiting for approval from the person who commissioned it, but even if they don't like it. It's ok. Having a reason to step outside of my comfort zone in my work was really refreshing and reminded me of what it means to be an artist.