Among the Grasses, 30"x30," Oil on panel, ©Lynn Goldstein, more info here
Sometimes a painting is completed in what feels like minutes. The art seems to simply drip off my brushes almost fully formed. When this happens I feel as if I have been handed a gift from the gods. More often, a painting takes bloody forever, which makes me wonder how I ever thought that I could do this thing called art-making. The piece may sit for days, weeks, and months before I bring it to the finish line.
The painting above is an example of a painting that took forever, and went through many iterations. Check out the way it used to look before I altered it below.
What does this have to do with advice from Smokey Robinson? Read on....
My love of music led me to a terrific book entitled, Smokey Robinson: Grateful and Blessed, narrated by the great songwriter himself. What joyful listening! I highly recommend it.
I was riveted hearing Mr. Robinson discuss his creative process, and was particularly interested when he said that it took five years to come up with the lyrics for Cruisin,' while it took five minutes to write the words to Shop Around. Hearing this, I realized that if someone as creative and impressive as Smokey Robinson can take his time writing the words to a song, then, by golly, I will simply embrace the time that it takes for me to complete a painting no matter how long the process lasts!
So, the advice I received from Smokey Robinson? He didn't say this, but I am going to extrapolate from his experience to relax into the process and enjoy the ride. Hope this helps you if you are a fellow artist. If you are not an artist, I hope what I have written helps you to understand part of the creative process.
Among the Grasses, progress being made. I kept looking at this in a thumbnail view
and I didn't like the tree on the right. Changes had to be made.
Among the Grasses before I made changes
Go Bold, 12"x12," oil on panel, © Lynn Goldstein, $600
see more about this piece here.
While having a conversation with one of my closest friends, she mentioned that she never had one of those amazing teachers that impacted and inspired her throughout her life.
That got me thinking. Did I have an inspiring teacher? The answer is yes, I did. I had a few of them. One was Mr. Rose, my dance instructor for eight years. He taught me the joy and artistry of movement, something that was apparently hardwired into my DNA. I loved the discipline of ballet, and I bring that training into my art-making practice to this day.
I had another dance instructor during my years in college. Unfortunately, I can't recall his name, but I remember something that he said to me as if it were yesterday. I try my best to bring his words to the forefront of my mind when I am experimenting with my art, and making what seems like a colossal mess. Here's what he had to say:
When you are dancing and you make a mistake, you tend to make a face that broadcasts your error. Don't do that. Just keep on dancing. The audience will never know."
Lately, I have been experimenting in my work. I have been using acrylic, working on abstracts, and making lots of mistakes. Mistakes are a great way to learn. I am not making any negative faces anymore either, and I am continuing to keep on dancing. Well, at least my brushes are dancing....
So, if you are also making mistakes, simply keep on dancing! You will learn a lot, you will grow, and the audience will never know.
Do you have any great words of wisdom from an inspirational teacher? Would you be willing to share? I would love to read them in the comments below.
The Soul Knows, 12"x12," Acrylic on panel, © Lynn Goldstein, $600
This painting is one of the abstract pieces that I have been working on in acrylic. I love this one!