And, I'd also like to wish you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS and BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR! May 2010 be a year filled with peace, joy, good health, and prosperity.
This will be my last post until after the holidays. At that time, I'll continue Roberts' book, and have a special treat for you after that!
The ninth principle in Roberts' book is Follow Something Along. So far, this is my favorite chapter because it reflects how I work. He writes: If we are to say something authentic, we need to stick with an idea for awhile. We need to gnaw at it, mine it, obsess over it. This is sage advice. As he points out, we don't need a LOT of ideas, we just need a few that we can really sink our teeth into and develop. This, of course, means working in a series. Over the past five years, I've created over fifty eggshell paintings in watercolor, oil, and acrylic. I haven't run out of ideas and am constantly surprised at how much more there is to say. I also work on other series, often two or more at a time. Each series takes years to complete, and some may never end. Take a look at:
Don Michael Jr's mask series http://www.donmichaeljr.com/gallery.php?&gallery=1
Peggy Stermer-Cox's MsKitty and ToyPony series http://peggy.stermer-cox.com/
Casey Klahn's River series http://thecolorist.blogspot.com/search/label/River%20Series
Margaret Ryall's garden series http://www.margaretryall.com/
And, consider Diebenkorn's Ocean Park series, or Bonnard, Cezanne, Monet, Vermeer, Wyeth. They all created series works.
The other side of this coin is to continually jump from one concept or style to another. This can prevent you from developing a distinguishable style, achieving technical mastery, and creating unique and meaningful art. No one will be able to figure out who you are from your paintings. By contrast, I can spot a Wyeth painting from a mile away.
As Roberts puts it, this is a path of discovery. And, it's a path that should keep you marching forward rather than retracing your steps. I really like the example he provides of Alexander the Great arriving by boat with his troops to conquer the Persians. After his troops disembarked, he ordered his generals to burn all the boats. This was a wise decision because if his troops felt that they could retreat to the relative safety of their boats and go home, they might not fight as hard. We artists need to adopt the same attitude. Once we're on a path we must commit to staying on it. Fight hard to advance your work and believe that you'll win! Sure, there will be days when you won't feel like it, but just hang on and keep going. Roberts concludes: consistently take steps in the direction that holds us, and trusting those steps, will build momentum. That momentum will build a career.
This could be a great New Year's resolution!
And now, your thoughts??