Friday, November 23, 2012

The Power of the Creative Carrot

Who loves color? 30x40 acrylic on gallery canvas--SOLD--Thank you!
Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! Next Friday is the opening of my Spirits Bright holiday show at 910 Arts and I’m just about ready. Twenty paintings (gulp) didn’t sound like very many when we started to think about having a show back in the summer…No biggie, that’s just 1 or 2 small paintings a week…Right?

But as with any large creative project it usually (always?) takes more time than you think. Plus most of my paintings are oil so there’s  extra varnishing and framing time you need to account for. (FYI, my favorite quick “go to” varnish for oil and/or acrylic paintings is Kamar spray by Krylon.)

For those of you who like to make lists, goals, etc. I think you’ll agree that it can be  helpful to have rewards and incentives tied to milestones. I had an art instructor once who always splurged on a fancy cocktail dress each time she got into a gallery. For me, I prefer to have an “internal” and an “external” reward. In the case of achieving my 20 painting goal, my internal goal (or emotional goal if you will) was giving myself the permission and freedom to create ANY painting I wanted.

Any subject (or no subject at all), any medium, any size, favorite colors, etc. For example, when faced with what color to use in the background above I first choose black for the contrast--but it didn't feel quite right. So asked not what was the "correct" choice but what was my favorite color? And the answer was any blue green “sea tone” so I went with that instead.

To start, I grabbed a nice roomy 30 x 40 canvas, some acrylics (since I’d mostly been working in oils and smaller and some inexpensive big acrylic brushes. And then I asked again: What’s the painting I want? What shapes do I like? Not what color is academically or theoretically correct for this spot but what color do I simply like better? Without those usual pressures this painting emerged fairly quickly. For me this was the perfect reward.  So the next time you need a motivational creative carrot just do what you want to do to do. Holiday Cheers everyone!


  1. What a great way to reward yourself! Love all the vivid colours! All the best with your show!

  2. Helen thanks very much for the nice comment and well wishes for my show! I greatly appreciate it! Happy Painting-Aimee