This is a post that I started writing on July 10, 2012. I was looking through some old draft blog posts and found this gem. I've added a bit of text and some images, but it's pretty much as I wrote it in 2012. I'm both surprised and unsurprised that my voice from 4 years ago is so similar to the one I have now.
There are ways that are easier.
There are techniques which will make your tools or supplies last longer.
There are ways to get closer to the results you intended.
There are the ways the manufacturer may have intended the product to be used.
There is the way you were taught.
There is the way most people do it/use it.
There is the safe way.
There is the way that works for you.
Don't ever let anybody -- you, the product packaging, a friend, a teacher, an expert -- tell you that there's a right and wrong when making art. You can certainly listen to the advice of other artists who've learned from their own experiments over time. However it's your own experience that will bring you closer to creating the kind of art you want to. There's no substitute for simply spending time playing with supplies and pushing past your own boundaries. In my opinion, frustration and boredom both lead to invention.
There is no right or wrong in art. Most of modern art has been about breaking rules. The great artists are always the ones who said, "What if?"
What if I didn't gesso the canvas?
Cornucopia by Lee Krasner, 1958:
Lee Krasner was part of the Abstract Expressionist movement, which dramatically changed art in my opinion. P.S. While looking for photos of Lee Krasner's work, I found this blog post by Lesley Frenz. READ IT!
What if I glued this paper onto this canvas?
Violin (December 1912) by Pablo Picasso:
Many people regard Picasso as the artist who birthed collage and mixed media.
What if I painted how this makes me feel instead of what it looks like?
Panel for Edwin R. Campbell No. 4 by Vasily Kandinsky, 1914:
There is no right or wrong in art. "What if" has so many magical possibilities that it leaves me positively giddy. "What if" is you chasing after what interests you, not what you're "supposed" to do. "What if" is evidence of curiosity and a desire to grow and evolve. "What if" is a scary and exciting question.
There is no right or wrong in art. I get a lot of e-mails from people asking about the "right" way to do something or the "right" tools. I get an equally large number of e-mails from people pointing out that I've done something the "wrong" way.
There is no right or wrong in art.
I have yet to hear of a parent, who upon seeing their child's first steps, slaps the child back and says, "heel-toe-heel-toe! I've been walking for thirty years and that's how it's done, kid." Rather, those first tentative steps are met with smiles and grins and clapping hands. Videos are sent to relatives and posted to Facebook and shown to co-workers.
Making art should be no different. It's slow and difficult at first and there's a lot of falling down. But all that falling down is disguised learning. That's how babies learn to walk and it's how we learn what works for us and what doesn't. I vote that each of us should pursue what interests us and fumble all along the way. You never learn so much as you learn from a mistake -- especially a big mistake. That lesson stays with you for a long time.
Don't be afraid of falling down. Victory is in the getting up. Eventually you'll learn to walk with your own rhythm and cadence.
That's the key: creating with your own rhythm and cadence. Techniques and ideas that work for me, may not work for you. Art that other people like may leave me cold. All of that is a-okay. There have always been exquisite ballet dancers with "bad feet" and marathon winners with terrible running form. There are plenty of ways to succeed without conforming to norms.
There is no right or wrong in art. Trust yourself and remember that art is play. So have a good time and make up the rules as you go along!
Thanks for stopping by!