As children, we all explored constantly—the world was new and we needed to try things out, push boundaries, and make discoveries in order to grow. Most of the time we were totally absorbed in these activities and found them enjoyable. Artists in their beginning phases often show a similar attitude—they are willing and eager to explore, play, and experiment in an open-ended way with few expectations. But once artistic maturity sets in we tend to settle into more predictable practices and may lose the urge to explore. There are important benefits to finding your groove and sticking with it, but how can we keep an inventive and adventurous spirit alive at the same time?
Achieving artistic maturity is a goal for many of us, reaching a point when we have something to say and the ability to say it well. It means having an authentic voice and consistent work. Yet staying open to change and engaging in experimentation and adventures into new media and subject matter are important to keeping our work fresh and exciting, and avoiding rigidity. These explorations are entirely legitimate ways to spend time and resources.
Trying new things takes acceptance that you may not always produce anything worth saving. It also takes self-confidence that others will appreciate and follow your adventures, and that your voice will continue to come through even with change. There can be a wide range of expression that comes from your core self. Countering the tendency to stick to the tried and true may take the form of attending an artist residency or workshop, travel, or simply setting time or place aside in your own studio for this practice.
So, let’s avoid being stodgy and unadventurous in reaching artistic maturity. Attitudes of play, experimentation, and non-attachment remain important to your work even as you mature. While focus and intentions are essential to doing deep work, adventure and childlike enjoyment are also aspects of mature work.
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Rebecca and her partner Jerry McLaughlin are excited to be launching year two of Cold Wax Academy's membership program, which began in October of 2020. In the coming year, live online learning sessions will feature an entirely new set of topics---beginning with a deep dive into technique and the steps involved in developing a painting. Other topics for year 2 include professional development, abstraction and realism, principles of design, and expanded uses for cold wax medium.
As always, members have access to recordings of all previous sessions including everything from the first year, so it's easy to join anytime. Fall Quarter begins October 6th. Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for details about membership levels and to sign up for a year of exciting learning experiences.
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience:
"Rebecca and Jerry have presented the most professional, authentic and structured approach to a creative activity I have ever come across. Their selfless sharing of all their knowledge and encouragement is a gift in my life unsurpassed."
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