Carrying out a creative project is rarely a straightforward process. A basic aspect of creative work is the way that ideas evolve during the process, rather than being known from the beginning. The outcome is unknown as the artist dives in, and the end is often surprising and exciting for its creator. Yet understanding and accepting this process is very difficult for many people. It seems to be human nature to know where we are heading when we set out, to have a goal and a plan and a roadmap. Today we’ll talk about the importance of the unknown in creative work.
We call this aspect of the creative process a lot of things-- play, trusting the process, being in the flow or the zone, spontaneity, and intuition. Operating with an unknown outcome may come easily to you or it may be a challenge. Why is it so hard to shift into this mode? It's not something we learn growing up, because throughout our school years we achieve by following a logical progression of ideas with a predictable and expected result. Although there are certainly basic things to learn about art, this mechanical approach can suck the joy out of the process and reduce it to just another subject to be rotely learned. As adult, mature artists, we need to set aside the idea that there is an established path to our goals.
It's also true that there is indeed a place for having intentions and basic ideas in mind, and some amount of planning depending on your style and the materials you work with. You need to be flexible about this, and allow time for both spontaneity, and some from analysis and planning.
In the big picture, it's good to have an idea of what is important and meaningful in your work. But for an individual piece, in the moment, “where am I going” need only be about the very immediate future, responding to what can be the next move or set of moves. Having the fortitude to keep going when you don’t know the final outcome has dimensions beyond the studio, to life itself—one of those lessons that creative practice can teach us if we pay attention.
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What's new at Cold Wax Academy?
Rebecca and Jerry are now midway through their winter quarter of online sessions at Cold Wax Academy, where as always members have access to in-depth and varied content for learning and growth. Upcoming sessions include a presentation by guest author Shaun McNiff, tips on photographing your artwork, a painting clinic for works in progress, and the final critique session for this quarter with a special focus on composition. As a member, you can also access the private Facebook page and the community there of informed and supportive artists who post paintings, ask questions and initiate discussions.
It's never too late to join Cold Wax Academy! All live sessions are recorded and there are now nearly 100 previous sessions in the member library. Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for more information as well as basic information about using cold wax medium.
Please visit http://www.coldwaxacademy.com for more information.
Here is what a member named Sandy has to say about her own experience with Cold Wax Academy:
"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."
Also-- please visit https://www.espacioart.org to learn about Rebecca and Jerry's newest project, Espacio, dedicated to providing beautiful living and working spaces for artists and writers. Espacio's first offering is Casa Clavel, a modern, fully equipped house opening this September in the beautiful cultural city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. A few booking openings are still available in 2023, so please incquire if you are interested.
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