Posted on February 03 2022
Featured image: The Cowboy
If you know what you are going to create ahead of time – say a landscape or figure, that does not mean you know whether the work will be authentic or not. Yet, at the same time, if you don’t think as you are creating there is no question in my mind that your work won’t be authentic. You don’t have to think about a landscape or figure that you have done before, or that someone has made popular. You just have to copy what they have done. For example, type the word Mickey Mouse art in your search button and look at the variations of the adorable little mouse. Are those works authentic? No. The same thing happens when you repeat the composition of a landscape or a figure that you have done before, are these works authentic? The answer isn’t as simple as the Mickey Mouse question.
The figures I create are an excellent example. Are they all authentic, or have they lost that authenticity after I have painted about 20 of them? I hope not but it sure would be easy to fall into the trap of repeating myself because then I wouldn’t have to think.
For this very reason, I think it is important not to assume anything when you begin to create, but to allow discovery and exploration to happen. Begin with the abstract and move into something authentic. Allow the work to talk to you. Allow yourself to hear it and not be trapped into repeating something.
When you reach this point of repeating, and I often do because I want to salvage something out of the work after all that exploring, ask yourself, "Why am I thinking it is so important to salvage this work?" Ha! That question has many answers and they usually aren’t good ones for the work of art. But if you instead you ask yourself, "How do I want to think about this work?" This question opens many doors for an answer. Some of them might have the work being tossed in the wastebasket. Others might end up being painted over as I allow myself to re-visualize the work on a new white surface.
I like the "how" question because it leaves the door open. I don’t like the "why" question because it assumes there is an answer. The bottom line, discover how you what to think about a work, and if answer is always, is the work authentic – well what can I say. If I have to say, "Why is the work authentic?" This assumes that I know there is an answer to why this the work is authentic. This limits freedom, and creativity, I like the idea of not assuming an answer when I create -just like never having an answer for what is art, and never having an answer for what is authentic because it changes and is variable.
My hope for you is that you always think of yourself as a unique authentic person. You are in charge of creating yourself. You are the artist, be authentic.