Sunday, March 18, 2007

Freedom to break rules

When Grandmother Moon was last approaching her fullness, the peak of her cycle, I made a note in my sketchbook to acknowledge her on this blog. New Moon 05/04
Her strong soft light keeps the trees aglow at night. I haven't painted a Full Moon image recently, however, I am reminded of two New Moon paintings I sold this year. This image is one of them or view it on my web site where I intend to write a story about the process involved in creating this texturally rich painting, as well as stories about Grandmother Moon.

These New Moon paintings were both full of creative freedom and rule-breaking. I took very deliberate steps to break rules about the "right" way to create a finished watercolor painting. It's considered purely awful in traditional watercolor company to despoil the surface of the paper support. It's true that in a traditional watercolor, scuffed paper could ruin the whole painting. But to achieve the result I envisioned for my painting, I needed to dig deep and work that surface, rough it up until I could sense the depth of inky sky, mystery, darkness and black holes up there in the great big beyond. (Incidentally you need a robust and burly watercolor paper that's tough enough for this kind of manipulation. A 200lb rag paper or heavier and a type that won't fall apart on you. Be prepared to experiment and throw a few cuttings away.) Artists have to break rules to get our creative work done. We earn the right to do that as creators and artists. If we get our hands crusty with the medium we work with, we then earned the right to break the rules. Don't let anybody tell you different. Guidelines are better than rules. Guidelines are exactly that - guides to a certain practice for a reason. A rule is a rigid thing. When it tramples the creative spirit and dampens creative drive, it's a poor rule. It's true that rules are made for a reason and can be valid and important but to follow a rule just because someone said "you can't do that, it ain't right" is a poor reason on it's own. As an artist, think for yourself, make your own rules. It's the only way to deepen your creative freedom and to express your unique creative voice.

Happy creating, see you at the Cafe!

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