Monday, November 10, 2014

Making Art is a Lot About the Artist Getting Out of the Way

Tracing a drawing onto my canvas for a commissioned painting.
I will use my own advice while doing this painting.
I have done the initial preparations toward my vision,
receiving input from my buyer. Now, it's up to my creative
process to take over. I will work on getting out of my own
way and let the painting breath its own life into existence.
I am merely the messenger at this point.
Copyright 2014 Mary Rush (Gravelle). All rights reserved.
As much as we artists would like to think that our art is all about us, I believe more and more, it isn't.

I think a lot of the creative process of making art has to do with the artist getting out of his/her own way. The "way" I speak of translates as "mind and brain". Too much thinking can impede our progress. It can inhibit new and exciting expressions from coming forth.

The Joy has Stopped

I was talking with an artist friend over the weekend who is in the midst of painting toward a show that will begin in about three weeks. She told me that she was no longer enjoying her painting process. And furthermore, 3-4 pieces were either in ruin or had been started and stopped. She was shut down creatively and had lost her joy of painting. The impending deadline weighed heavily upon her shoulders and mind. As the conversation unrolled itself, I realized that she had a big sister criticizing her, the little sister, both in real life and internally. This criticism and advice was robbing the fun from her inner child's creative process.

Stop Thinking So Hard

I basically suggested that she just let go and paint. Let the materials do the painting, much like I teach in Wisdom Painting. Stop thinking so hard and get back to playing at the painting process again. Allow herself to experiment a little since she told me she had bought some gel mediums that she wanted to try. The theme of her show also was all about channeling the paintings, a condition where you must be open to the process.

Commissioned painting, 18 x 36 inches.
The drawing part of the process is complete.
Now it's time to paint!
Copyright 2014 Mary Rush (Gravelle). All rights reserved.

Jazzed Again

I am happy to report that my friend just sent me a photo of the painting she worked on today. It is a dynamic and strong visual piece, not yet complete, however. She is totally excited and jazzed again. I would like to think that my conversation with her helped loosen up her process.

What I Suggest

So, here is what I suggest if you feel yourself stuck: just show up and then surrender. Take yourself out of the equation as much as possible.

Just Show Up

Just showing up to the materials will send a message to your inner child or creative muse that you are ready to paint. It's a physical commitment to your process. Show up with intent to paint.


Surrender to the creative process. Let the colors, brushes, palette, and canvas all have a conversation with your intuition and your vision for this painting. There is an intelligence built into the creative process itself. Surrender to it and let it have its way with you and the painting. All those years of art school or training / learning will ensure that the painting is a painting and not a disastrous mess.

Try It

Try this out and report back. How did it work for you? Was it really bad advice? Or did it help you break through a block of some sort?

Mary Rush
(Mary Gravelle)

Until Next Week

Sir Kitty
• Create art
• Appreciate art
• Buy art

About the Author

Mary Rush is an artist who resides in Sedona, Arizona with her beloved cat, Sir Kitty.

Copyright 2014 Mary Rush (Gravelle). All rights reserved.

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