Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Listen to your heart

A woman at the gallery where I show my photographs used to say, "Amateurs borrow ideas; professionals steal them." The idea of copying another's art has always made me uncomfortable, but I'm beginning to learn that the struggle to recreate an appealing concept can teach me a lot, both about what I want to paint, and what techniques I can use to achieve my objectives.

This painting, for example, which I finished yesterday, was inspired by a piece of art I found in one of the slew of catalogs that tend to show up in our mailboxes around this time of year.  Does that mean it's not mine?  The thickened sections underneath are uniquely my own, but the mirage-like shimmer of it is what happened when I tried to duplicate the other artist's technique -- and I really like it, so much so that I've already used it to soften some of the other works I've done recently which seemed to have too much texture.

So, in the end, allowing myself to be inspired by another's work was not only a way to take an old canvas I no longer cared for and turn it into something I could really like, but it has allowed me to reclaim some other pieces whose compositions I liked but whose execution seemed to me to be flawed.

Moral of the story? Listen to your heart, don't be afraid to bend the rules a bit, and trust that everything has something to teach you.  At least -- that's what I'm thinking now.  Ask me again later!

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