I hope you're having a happy week, and getting as much creative time in as you want!
Or do you sometimes find yourself distracted by a multiplicity of possibilities? Maybe it's not sure what kind of media you want to work in, because there are so many things you'd like to try. Or maybe the broad range of subject matter you're thinking about feels a little overwhelming. Or could it be that all of those colors in the paint tubes laid out before you give you so many possibilities you just don't know what to choose?
One thing you might consider is how you can simplify things. It's so easy to get distracted by shiny objects, and sometimes, when it comes to art materials and new colors, we may find ourselves with a confusing array of possibilities.
That's not to say don't try stuff! Trying new things and experimentation is what leads to discovery! And discovery may take us in wonderful new directions that we would never have thought of exploring, had we not just given ourselves permission to experiment.
As creative people, we are often very comfortable with being all over the place. Hey, that's what creativity is all about! It's seeing how different things can come together in new ways, whether in a visual art form like painting, any other kind of art form, or inventiveness of any kind.
But every now and then it's good to simplify, to see what you can do with less. One way of doing that with your art making is to see what you can do with fewer colors. If you've taken my classes, you know how I teach the virtues of a limited palette. But you may want to experiment, just for the heck of it, with even fewer colors.
Last Friday, the folks in class decided they wanted to take on a two color challenge. Only two colors, you say, shocked! Yes — the idea is to try a lighter warm color and a cooler dark color, plus white, and see what you can make of it. Your options are restricted, but the simplicity of the palette has gifts for you too.
Sometimes, when you are less distracted by the excitement of many colors, you can particularly appreciate values. And learning about values makes a lot of difference in all your painting, whether you continue painting with two colors and white, or expand back out.
So… are you finding yourself distracted by a multiplicity of options? Whether you're choosing between many colors, or media, or anything else, consider simplifying, even a little bit. You may be pleasantly surprised at the gifts simplicity has to offer you!
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, and live in Calistoga, California.