A lot of my most recent work has included female faces, and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make these faces look “real” enough, constantly fixing and tweaking and figuring out the right proportions. When I get caught up in this cycle of perfectionism, sometimes painting is no longer fun and finishing one can start to feel like a chore.
If I’m not having fun and feeling free and inspired while painting, then why do it? I've learned to use these feelings as a guide, following my own creative spirit wherever it takes me.
It’s not always easy to follow though, because I get ideas about what I want my art to look like, or what I think it “should” look like. It’s pretty easy to start comparing myself to other artists with more developed realistic painting skills and trick myself into feeling not good enough.
But then I remind myself to just do what feels fun and freeing for me--to take the path of least resistance instead of trying to force something. When I follow the path of least resistance with my art, it usually leads me to something new, which is exciting and sparks new inspiration and ideas.
So I recently took a break from painting faces and started a series of large abstract designs which felt like a breath of fresh air. I put on some of my favorite music and just made up the designs as I painted, a fun and intuitive process.
A friend let me borrow some Martha Stewart rubber painting tools which have been really fun to experiment with. They inspired me to create texture, something I haven't really played with much before in my art. You can see close-ups in the next two photos.
I know that eventually I will want to paint faces, animals and things again. I also know that as long as I’m painting, I’m growing.. and so is my art.
So here I am, floating freely in color, shapes and texture. Creating my own abstract designs that don’t need to look like anything. Existing in a reality free from the confines of right, wrong, definitions and labels.
A deep breath of fresh air in and a bold sigh of relief out, “ahhhhhh”.