A few blog posts ago I hinted at a new series I’ve been working on, quite different from my current figurative work. This new series is non-representational, and a completely new direction for me. Yet it feels very much a part of who I am.
Much of the marketing advice aimed at artists encourages them to “find their voice” and then create work that is consistent and dare I say, predictable, in an effort to satisfy their collectors and not create surprises for the viewer. If a certain “look” sells, then the thinking is that you would want to make more of it, get known for it and start to create some success for yourself, whether selling through galleries or on your own.
This advice strikes me as completely counter-intuitive to an artist’s true nature. Why are we artists, except that we love to be creative? As a creative person, why would we want to make the same thing over and over again? So in order to be true to ourselves, I think we need to take that marketing advice with a grain of salt, or even a big helping.
My creative journey has certainly been varied, and while some things have been more successful than others, if by success you mean money-making, then it’s been checkered. But if by success you mean living a full life, exploring different ideas, trying new things and following my imagination, then I’ve been very successful!
One of the creative pursuits I’ve been immersed in for the last 1-1/2 years has been learning to play the piano. What a joy I’ve found it to be! The music stays in my head and I play it to myself even when not at the piano. I’m also listening to a lot of piano music through Internet stations.
A few months ago I had an urge to create some abstract (non-representational) pieces. Setting some bounderies, I thought I would work only in oil sticks on paper. I would focus on colour and asemic writing (writing that looks like writing but has no meaning). Why? Where do these ideas come from? The subconscious is a mysterious place…
Anyway, I embarked on a few of these pieces. I quickly found that they take a lo-o-o-ng time to dry between sessions, the oil sticks being more like actual oils in drying time than when mixed with cold wax medium. It allows for a lot of thinking time, meditative reflection — a good thing. But as I gradually completed a few of them, I finally showed them to my husband, who immediately liked them (my best fan club!) and said they reminded him of music.
Lightbulb! I had a flash where I suddenly understood my motivation for these pieces and the style that was emerging. It just felt right. All that music I was playing and listening to every day was soaking into my subconscious, influencing my art. Really, how could it not? One creative practice leads to another. And just confirms my belief that as artists we must remain open to these creative urges and not pigeon-hole ourselves.
I did some research and found that studies show that learning a new language and learning music are processed in the same area of the brain. Thus, my title for this series, Lyrical Language.
The series is growing, but in the meantime, here are the first three offerings. As you can see, this is happy art. It comes from a place of deep, emotional joy. Music, colour and creativity. A mix, for me, made in heaven.