I will often get written queries from my students around issues they are having with their creative process and thought it would be fun and useful to share some of my responses with all of you here.
Dear Wild Heart Queen,
Since taking your intuitive painting class I’m having a struggle around the process vs product dilemma. I loved your class. And loved the chance to play and be free. My creativity totally flowed during this process.
But now I’m focusing on the future. I want to paint but I want to paint “real art”. I want my art to be “good enough” to show. And possibly even good enough to sell.
Intuitive painting is so much fun that I’m telling myself if I continue to paint in this way no one will take my art seriously. I should be working harder than this.
It’s hard for me not to be affected by something in my head that thinks it knows the “art rules” and has this impossible standard of “good art” that I’m now trying to live up to. I know that those rules are bogus and have never worked for me. But I’m caught in this web of of shoulds and expectations. And of course because of all this I’m totally stuck and paralyzed and I’m not painting at all!!!
Stuck In The Middle Again
Dear Stuck In The Middle,
I get the struggle. And it is a mighty one! I really appreciate how you are trying to understand and work with this issue. And like you said, those rules have never worked for you anyway!!
The truth of it is this: all you can do is paint the way you paint. And whether or not someone will buy what you create has nothing to do with it being “good art”. What people are attracted to and what they will spend money on is a mystery at best. Some people will tell you that they have that process all figured out. But no one really knows why some things sell and some don’t.
I had a student once who made interesting and quirky batik scarves … and she learned over time that she should display all of the things she created when she went to sell her stuff because often the creations she liked the least were the ones that people were excited to buy.
Your job as an artist is to make art. Period. What you create is really not even UP to you. You need to simply trust in your own creative flow, BE the creator and ENJOY making your art. Selling your art then becomes a marketing issue. But you don’t want to allow the selling process to contaminate your creative process. Because that leads to paralysis and NO ART.
You can always choose what to show and what not to show other people. But it’s important to NOT make that decision BEFORE you begin painting, but after the painting is complete. If you approach a painting thinking “This one is going to be ‘real’ art and this other one is going to be play”, you’ve already split yourself. You’ve already separated yourself from your own creative flow.
You can bet your booty that Picasso was not trying to please some gallery in his head when he was in the process of painting the powerful and moving Guernica!!
First you paint. Allow the painting to take you where it needs to go. Then you decide if it’s something you want to share or sell or have seen or if it’s something that you want to keep private.
The most important thing is to allow your creative process to have its own life. To continue to trust in that. To stay true to your muse at all times. Showing and marketing are just not the same thing as making and creating. And if you try to combine the two AS you’re painting it just leads to confusion and stuckness like the type you are describing to me.
The other thing to remember is that what you’re really struggling with is the belief that your genuine creative expression is not good enough. And that unhelpful belief is what we’re trying to heal through this intuitive painting process.
Hugs, love and glitter,
The Wild Heart Queen