10 Reasons for Artists to Dig Deeper
We all know that trying new things gets us out of our comfort zone, but why is it important to do this? The bottom line is this: it's a way of digging deeper. I've come up with a list of ten good reasons to experiment and try new things. (And there are definitely more than ten, but I think you'll find that these reasons are plenty to contemplate for now). You'll probably find that all of these points can be applied to life as well as art. I believe that the more open we are to the dialog we can have with our art, the greater the visual vocabulary we build by practicing and remembering, and the more connected we see all aspects of what we do and experience – that life is art and art is life – the closer we'll come to finding the truth and making the connection we're truly meant to be making.
1 – To discover our full potential and then to act upon the insights and skills that we discover we're capable of.
2 – To view things differently and/or in a new way, and from that, develop new possibilities, outcomes and initiatives.
3 – To encourage our ability to thrive under pressure, under spontaneous circumstances, or in situations with uncertain outcomes.
4 – To gain a better understanding of the tools we use in our trade and what they are fully capable of doing and producing.
5 – To overcome ego. To enjoy process, experimentation, and discovery simply for what it is.
6 – To learn how to lose ..and how to find again after losing. To gain the understanding that before trying something new, it was unknown, and after trying it, it's become more familiar. And the more often we apply that theory, the more familiar we are with something (that was once unknown).
7 – To expand upon what we already know, and to constantly be pushing that envelope. We open our minds to what we do know while exploring what we don't know.
8 – To be mindful and to be present. To get ourselves out of a headspace we may find ourselves in regularly.
9 – To sharpen our problem solving skills. To allow a chance to react, assess, and act upon what's learned, and to be aware of our temperament and our tendency toward how we react to things, especially to the unknowns or unexpected things.
10 – To recognize that our best results have come from being curious, critical, full of wonder, and resilient.
Ora, graphite and oil on panel, start in graphite, on the finish I added oil to the face and warm tones. Allen Williams demonstrated graphite on claybord at The Fantastic Workshop a couple years ago, and that was my inspiration to try graphite on claybord. I had used graphite and painted with it with water on other surfaces before, but not on claybord. This was my first attempt at it. I learned a lot about the surface and combo of materials, and have done many more since this.
Go forth and try something new today! Hooray!
Ps. if you are attending The Fantastic Workshop in November, you can be sure I will be expanding upon these point as well as this topic overall. I'll also be painting live, demonstrating my process, and showing (and sharing!) some of the tools I use too. Can't wait to dig deeper with you all!
Vanessa Lemen is an award-winning painter who lives and works in Carlsbad, CA. Her work has shown in galleries and exhibitions internationally, and is in private collections internationally as well. With eight paintings exclusively published in the new Illustrated Limited Edition of The Left Hand Of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin (Easton Press/MBI, Inc) released in 2018, her work has also been published in such art books as Spectrum, Women of Wonder, The Journal, and Infected By Art. Vanessa writes monthly columns for the Muddy Colors blog. Her recent work has earned her The Chesley Award, as well as awards in publications such as Infected By Art, in Art Renewal Center's ARC Salon, and participation in the International ARC Salon Exhibition. She and her husband, Ron, together run an online program, Lemenaid.com, instructing art and mentoring artists, as well as instructing at workshops in various locations across the US, including The Fantastic Workshop with One Fantastic Week.