Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Artist and ADD

I try not to be too controversial in my blog, not because I don't like controversy, but rather would like to keep things simple and not have to deal with angering or upsetting someone out there. So here goes...
I am NOT, I repeat an expert on ADD, so I can only speak for myself and with a bit of levity.
Many of the artists that I know, myself included, joke often about having Art ADD, which is a specific kind of wonderful malady. We talk about jumping from one creative thought to another and how it is hard to control and our desire is to do it ALL...RIGHT NOW! Pastels, watercolors, acrylics, oils, to frame or not to frame, small vs. big, (No, do all sizes...) what kind of palettes to explore, let's paint outside; no, let's set up a still life; better yet-get a model; clothing on or off?...and this happens on an almost daily basis. So you see the challenge.
Being creative is an ability to let your mind almost explode and run freely through all possibilities without hindrance. But at some point, one must sit down, make a decision and focus and then execute. Different artists have different challenges at any point along this continuum. So often artists can't get out of this "possibilities mode" that it paralyzes them and they simply do nothing. I know writers that block, musicians that can't compose and cooks that stopped baking. What then?
I know that for me, I have many sketchbooks, slips of papers with ideas, notes and articles lying all about my studio. I try to capture things as I dream them up and then go back later to see if any of my ideas have merit. I have had to make myself do this in order to function and to be productive on a regular basis. Computers and the Internet complicate matters. They take up an inordinate amount of time, and for someone who could wander around looking at fabulous art all day, it's hard to be disciplined. So I only spend limited time online and try not to get too hooked into so much of the stuff that is out there. I try to set aside time in my calendar where I balance my boring stuff (ordering supplies, framing, cleaning, filing, etc.) with painting. Also, I try to balance my painting with small work, huge stuff, plein air, abstracts and other mediums. I think that this approach, for me, keeps me interested, keeps me disciplined and keeps my skills sharp for my students. Each artist has to find their own way. All of the books out there have prescriptions for numerous ways to do art, but you have to decide for yourself. No one can tell you how to do it. Your sucess in terms of becoming a better artist, your sales, and your accomplishments will tell the tale of whether you are on the right track or not. Still, after all the talk, the ideas and the fun, the artist has to close the door to the studio and squirt out the paint and get it on the canvas. At least, I do.
It was a beautiful morning and I slipped out for some plein air for an hour or so. This is the view from Smithfield Station looking at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield. 6x8.

No comments: