My Top 3 Recommendations for Creating a Beautiful Painting:
1. Know What You Like
How are you supposed to know where you're going if you don't know where you're going? Having a sense of what you believe makes a beautiful painting can help you navigate your artistic process. Spend some time collecting your favorite abstract paintings from the internet. Do you notice a common theme? Are they wildly different? Take it all in, and begin to analyze what you believe makes a beautiful painting.
2. Focus on Quantity Over Quality
We all want to create beautiful things. But have you ever considered that trying too hard to make a beautiful painting can be what's making you feel stuck? Over my 13 years of teaching, the quest for "beauty" is among the most inhibiting forces I have witnessed among students. In trying to create something "beautiful" artists stifle the creative process, and inhibit themselves unnecessarily. In an effort to create something "beautiful", some colors become good, others colors become bad. This can also be said regarding textures, themes and even orientation. Doesn't that sound a bit like "painting within the lines"? Quality inhibits freedom of expression and experimentation. By focusing on quantity, you get to know your process intimately, and the progression towards a style that's beautiful to you is a natural part of the evolution. After all, I believe the most beautiful paintings are made by artists that know themselves the best. I'm not saying that there is no room for quality in the artistic process. There certainly is! What I am saying is that focusing on quality too early in the game can inhibit and even paralyze you.
Do you remember the story about the ceramics teacher?
3. Don't Be Afraid to Make Something Ugly
For the students who are particularly stuck on the idea of wanting to create something beautiful, I give them the following task: Make something "ugly" but have fun, and learn something in the process. Spoiler Alert: Quite often, it's the pieces that we approach with wild abandon and uttermost freedom that we end up enjoying and loving the most. Preconceived ideas of beauty lack spontaneity, which is vital in a successful piece.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.