Monday, February 15

Become a Great Artist - Create Something NEW (and Different)

Today’s Image
Pastel on Paper
Copyright 2008

I read a news release online about the recent opening of a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit. If you have been a follower of this blog for a while, then you know that I respect her artwork and her unique style. I’m sure you’ve seen her mesmerizing paintings of flowers and canyonlands in books. Maybe you’ve seen them in person, either at a visiting exhibit or if you’re lucky enough to have visited the O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

Anyway, after reading the article and being reminded of her artwork again, I wanted to write a blog on the subject of creating art that is new. Today's Image is a drawing of mine that is an example of what NOT to do.

That is, every work of art should be new (and different), and that’s what I’m talking about—creating art that is completely NEW.

Why is that important? Well, you may not care about this at all, but if you really want to become a 'known' artist and ‘make a statement’ in the art world, then your art has to be new (and different). If that’s not your goal, and it’s not for many artists, then you can stop reading.

You have to bring something new to the canvas or paper or whatever the medium. I’m not sure they teach that in fine art schools; maybe they do, but that’s not the point.

The point is that your art will only rise to the level of its uniqueness (if that’s a word). By that I mean, if you are trying to create art that already looks like some other artist’s work, then you are already on the wrong path if your goal is to stand out and become known.

Many, if not most, artists study, paint, and practice their art by trying to create work that looks like other artist’s. I am not talking about copying, but I am saying that one of the conventional ways to learn art is to try and paint like other artists whose work is well known.

I do it, you probably have done it. I’m saying it’s fine as way to learn your craft, so to speak, but it’s not OK if your goal is to give the world completely new art.

If you practice painting ‘pretty’ pictures of landscapes or seascapes or even people, I wish you much success. The same goes for those who paint like Chagall or Pollock or whomever. Just remember though, it’s not new, and it’s not unique.

Every era has an artist or a movement that ushers in ‘the new.’ Think Caravaggio; think the Impressionists; think Picasso; think Expressionism; think Hirst. Important note: I said think like them, not paint like them.

Today’s blog is about thinking about where you are going with your art career and being comfortable with it. If you are not comfortable—that’s great. You're on your way!

Think O’Keeffe.


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