Creating Art: Forgetting Perfect, Embracing Chaos
René Ruffner shares with us his thoughts about creating art, forgetting perfection and embracing
The more art I’ve done, the more it’s come home that creating art has much less to do with talent than it does with putting one foot in front of the other.
It’s about making many small decisions, one after the other – and in the case of painting, because each brushstroke can count as a decision – sometimes thousands of decisions.
But even the decision-making component of art builds on something we can teach ourselves.
For whatever reason, perhaps that our metabolism is guided by a life-force drive to accomplish a lot, we rush through the creative process.
My practical advice is that by dividing a project into small, do-able increments, and by staying in the workspace, we can accomplish much.
For me, that can be as simple as completing the smallest, most challenging part of a painting as my only goal for the day. Finishing that small goal isn’t overwhelming, and is easier to approach patiently.
But of course, that doesn’t mean your challenges are over. At a distinct point in your work, you’ll become discouraged with the art you’ve made.
That’s normal. Being discouraged doesn’t signal a fault with your art, though; it’s a good thing.
Dissatisfaction means that you are comparing what you’ve done with an inner model of what you want to create.
It means you have a good vision, and that’s the hidden marvel. To reach that inner model you may have to “peel the onion” of false starts, of impatience, and perhaps use a few new tools.
When that discouraging point comes, quit work for the day if need be, and come back to the project. Or divide the project into smaller, less intimidating steps.
When you return to the project, your fresh outlook may help. Or not!
You may think you’ve ruined a project. Completing a project well – giving voice to your vision – is not a matter of talent.
The vision is not about talent, because the magic has already happened in the existence of your vision. So when you think it’s ruined, take an analytical pause, but don’t give up.
It’s all about the willingness to keep making small decisions about what’s in front of you, and that’s something everyone can do.
Last, something about what I call the “My Precious Art” syndrome.
It’s something most artists have gone through. It simply means that you can’t part with or modify your effort.
Many of us refuse to even see the problems that have made our art unsuccessful, because of a fear of having wasted the effort.
Dimenticalo. Forget about it.
You can make more. You have the “blueprints” in your head, and every effort, every painting, will get better.
For that matter, the “My Precious Art” syndrome applies to your best efforts, too, and can prevent sales.
My best advice, is to value your art, but let go of it when it’s done. Not doing so can be a huge demotivator, based on a fear that can result in less productivity.
The longer you paint, the more you sell, the more you’ll create.