7 Tips for Greater Creative Expression
By Richard McKinley
- Learn the rules and then forget them. The rules in traditional painting are there to stop us from making innocent mistakes (never put anything in the center, never use pure black, never lead the viewer out of the painting). If artists didn’t break them, we would all paint alike. The key is to break the rules on purpose and make the painting work.
- Experiment with techniques. As an early mentor of mine said, “As long as you are not breaking an archival procedure, put together whatever mediums you need for the effect you desire: Be a bit of the educated mad scientist when it comes to painting.
- When painting en plein air, first and foremost, make yourself comfortable. Inspiration will come if you can relax and paint, without fighting the elements. Far too much time is lost in pursuit of the perfect subject matter.
- Remember that you’re making a painting, not a picture. Getting it right doesn’t always produce an artistic statement. No one receives an award for getting it right, and we shouldn’t need to title our paintings That Is the Way It Was.
- Stop your internal critic from only finding the mistakes. Instead, focus on what you think is working. Let that guide what needs to be altered.
- Remind yourself that with pastel, you don’t have to be in a hurry. Wherever you stop, the painting will be quietly waiting there for your return.
- Playl It is just a piece of paper or canvas. Take a chance, make a mess, experiment. More will be gained from a failed attempt than a predictable outcome.
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