A favourite technique of mine to aid the 'letting go' of conscious control, occurred to me whilst studying for my degree.
This may sound conceited to some, and pointless to others, but I found that the level of skill in the representation of certain things had been honed to the point that I actually didn’t like the images I was making.
They seem contrived, illustrations at best, and simply too lacking in any real emotional involvement.
I could choose colours well, draw with a degree of accuracy which made the subject obvious, and had an understanding of composition and tone.
But I didn’t like my work.
It wasn’t inspiring or interesting to me.
The only times I would feel any degree of achievement was when I would lose myself, paint to music, or play around with an art material for the hell of it, not knowing what I was supposed to be doing on any technical level at all.
So I decided to disable my drawing, to see if I could produce something with a bit more of a surprising outcome.
I started by using my left hand to draw. I chose big paper, and soft charcoal, to further take away any resistance to the flow of the marks.
I loved it.
I loved my images
I felt the lines and textures so much more fully,
I felt the flow of expression so much more deeply.
So I continued to add to this idea, by attaching my charcoal to the end of a long paintbrush to further hinder the control I had over my drawing.
They were kind of figurative, but very abstracted.
The pieces I produced were the first pieces that I sold as a working artist.
So, what was attractive to the customer about these?
Was it the energy of them?
Maybe the vagueness of the subject matter?
Was it much more open to interpretation?
Or was it that the artwork was infused with the energy of joyful creation?
The value that I put on these works was contagious, as they were made with the vibration of joy and surprise, and so then became infused with this energy, reconfiguring any people looking at them, or in their vicinity to feel a similar way.
The confines we put on our art have been built through years of reaction. We will take a mental note of how our art is reacted to, and, whether we remember it or not, it will stay there to subconsciously remind us of what ‘that specific person’ thought of our work.
A good or bad reaction could have the same effect in limiting how much we are prepared to take chances.
If you consistently have negative feedback over a particular style, how much would you be prepared to continue with this line of expression? Would that choice be a conscious one, or maybe even a subconscious one, in the hope of finding something which inspires a positive reaction.
If you have good feedback, how much would you be led to continue down this path of expression? How much would that positive reaction feed the desire to achieve more recognition, and limit how much you’d be prepared to experiment on other styles?
Then add to this the fact that most people’s opinions are made from their own conditioning, so who’s appreciation are you actually serving here?
Getting back to your true expression can be a self imposed minefield- to feel like you are honouring your own creative path, to make images that lend themselves to your own sense of joy, can be a little more difficult that you may think.
My way was to limit my representational skills as an artist, to try to get back to some kind of emotional content, rather than playing to the ‘can I have a painting of a stag in a forest’ customer that I’d made my pocket money on as a school kid.
But it’s not easy, it’s hard when your grandma wants to be proud, and says, ‘you used to do lovely pictures’, or your parents think they’ve done you a favour by getting you that job to paint their friends a picture for their living room, ‘in these colours’.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place for that kind of artist, and it will always be a privilege to be paid for your art work,
But, when creating your present masterpiece, Just ask yourself these questions...
How much am I enjoying this process?
Do I feel mentally or creatively expanded in this expression?
Would I have this picture on my own wall?
If the answer is a ‘no’ to more than one of these questions, then it maybe time to consider some self enforced, freeflow creative playtime!
Here’s a few ideas!
1 Disable your usual method of mark making - either take away control, or if you use very open, sketchy mark making, then limit yourself to making a decision on a line or shape. Don’t overthink this- whatever comes to mind- remember, you are not playing to an audience with this!
2 Again, remember, you are not playing to an audience, there is no preconception on outcome,
So take a risk, use a colour combination you haven’t first tried out, or a technique which almost decides it’s own outcome, like marbling or paint splats
3 Play out the character of a completely different type of artist to yourself in your mind, like creative role play-how would they make their first mark on the paper? With deliberation? Or with gentle flow...? What type of art is this character famous for creating? How much do their paintings sell for? What characteristics do they have that you may not?
Try them on for size, you may be surprised at how well they fit!
4 Start your picture with a blindfold! Then see what kind of image the initial marks inspire to continue in developing.
5 If you get bored, or you are not feeling involved in what you are doing , then STOP!
Throw it away! Or keep it to look at with fresh eyes another time and Start again!
Try another idea! Give yourself permission to not have to rescue every piece of creative work you do!
The expansion is in the joy of the process- not the outcome
About the author
Cherianne Dawn is a psychic artist and symbolist, and aims to use her gifts to teach and inspire.
Life Path Alignment & Symbolic Support with Cherianne
'An insight into your present to empower your future.'
She has an online intuitive school 'Catching Visions'
guiding conscious beings to expand their spirituality
and nuture their creative flow.