I guess you’d say that things in my creative world have entered a difficult stage. I feel stale, there is a lack of quality in my painting, techniques that have served me well are proving not to be so reliable and I am frustrated by all those things.
So, I approached an artistic friend/teacher/mentor. (Jody Graham is her name and I encourage you to check out her work. Quite amazing drawing). I was seeking some guidance for how to, not just get through this period, but also to take the next step in the development of my practice. It is time to work to get better – enough of feeling like I’m standing still.
Jody’s advice was swift and directive. She prescribed limits. Restrictions. ‘Only draw what fits in your hand or only paint with two colours or paint using the back of a rubber thong or draw blindfolded every day for a month’. Jody advocated a drastic narrowing of the material options, coupled with a daily discipline, to open up more expansive possibilities.
I once mused, in this blog, about generalisation and specialisation. This is a time to specialise – to push hard in one area, to plumb the depths, to dig a deep hole in one place and mine whatever treasures may be found there. I have usually tended towards generalisation so this is a new and interesting path.
I’m sure there are applications of the sometime need to set limits, to shut down the breadth of options, in everyday life. Sometimes we compartmentalise in our minds – a method of dealing with overstimulation by setting the boundaries of what we will think about at a given time. Are there others? Now that we’re looking out for them we will probably see them everywhere.
P.S. And for the record, for the next month I am going to paint only with watercolours, only with two types of insulating foam and a stick, and only concentrate on faces. Let’s see what happens!