As I've been going about my creativity this month, and after reading Geneen Roth's Women Food and God, I've been noticing how much time I spend in the initial stages of a painting pushing away thoughts of HOW this painting should turn out. (JUST PAINT!) I have an idea in my head of what I want, and then I feel myself painting in a more realistic manner. I have to push past this to get to what I want.(JUST PAINT!) I am realizing that subconsciously I know that technically correct, realistic-looking paintings are what is satisfying to the general public. The average person when "judging" art wants something to look exactly like what is being painted. If you can re-create exactly what you see, then you are a "good painter". (JUST PAINT!)
Recently, my daughter was telling me about an instance where she had drawn a picture of a cat. And the person she was with, (an adult), snickered at the little's cat's tilted head, and said, if you want to draw a good cat, you have to make it look like a real cat.
After doing some damage control and calmly explaining that you can draw whatever kind of cat you want. And it can look however you want it to look. And yes, that means it CAN be purple with polka dots if you want. And touching upon all of the amazing artists who have subjects with tilted heads, even if that isn't realistic.
It starts early. I look back and I know it started with me when I won my first shiny ribbon in 3rd grade for a watercolor painting of a single red rose in a yellow vase on a blue background. So realistic!
As you go about pursuing art, learning techniques, and different media, one can't help but apply the same formula that is taught throughout our whole educational experience...learn it, do it correctly, be successful! But, art is different...
I needed someone to tell me that art doesn't have to be realistic to be good. Art can be fun. Art can be whimsy and fantasy and imagination. Art can be crooked and off center. Art can be a single black circle painted in one stroke. Art doesn't have to be technically correct to be good. Good art is always what speaks to you. Good art is what makes your heart flutter. (JUST PAINT!)
So, as I step to the canvas once again, I need to push my people-pleasing, perfectionist thoughts aside, dissolving them with each brushstroke. My challenge isn't to paint a technically correct painting. I can paint a real tree like nobody's business! My challenge is to paint what I see in my head...smiling dogs, mermaids with colorful tails, colors that inspire, fearlessly adding words and glitter if I feel like it. My challenge is to paint a painting that makes my heart flutter. (JUST PAINT!)