The Elements of Making Art that's Truly Yours

Know Thyself.

From the Temple of Apollo at Delphi

I’m going to go out on a limb and take a couple of guesses about you.

You’re someone who thinks deeply and a lot, and tends to ask questions about everything, from a desire to get beneath the surface of life. You probably devour books, especially anything about creativity, spirituality and self transformation, you possibly write a journal, and feel drawn to what cannot be seen by the physical eyes {usually}, whether that’s energy healing, quantum physics, a religious faith or something along those lines. And you have a relentless pull to be creative, even if you’re not acting on it as much as you’d like.

How do I know this? Because I’m the same {apart from that last bit}. And because if you feel drawn to this website it’s very likely we share at least some of the above characteristics.

So it probably won’t seem weird to you if I suggest that getting to know yourself better is the way to make your best, truest art. Think about it; every step you take to getting to know yourself better will root you more firmly in understanding and owning who you are, and it will become easier and easier to speak from there – literally, artistically and figuratively. The art becomes an expression of wherever we are on the spiral of self discovery.

By pursuing ever greater self knowledge you are learning a new language –

your own. You are becoming fluent in self expression.

That’s really the essence of what I want to share with you through my work here. Specific or traditional techniques can be important as part of your artist vocabulary, but there are plenty of people out there who can teach those far more effectively than I can. My path seems to be more about encouraging self expression through art. About learning to speak your own language. Not least because we teach what we most need to learn.

Because this is something I’ve thought about, worked on with people and experimented with for a long time, {and because, let’s be honest, I’m a raging introspector : )}, I have noticed a few things that repeatedly make an appearance in the creation of art that is truly your own. That’s the art that is not just something others love {although that tends to be a happy side effect}, but the art that is the most satisfying to create and enjoy for yourself.

Art that is truly yours tends to:

  • come from the inside out, rather than the outside in {thus making it look less like anyone else’s}
  • include an ever increasing understanding of techniques and how you most love to use them
  • come from a dance between intuition and knowledge; a collaboration with spirit/Creative Source/whatever your word
  • be characterised by repeated personal symbols, ‘signature marks’ {and the energy they carry}, favoured colour palette choices, motifs or themes
  • tell a story, whether that’s an obvious narrative or something known only to you but that speaks somehow to others without you perhaps being able to explain it
  • include an understanding of the use of design elements and how they work together: composition types, negative space, tonal range, quiet/noisy areas {detail vs blank space}, what you choose to include/exclude, textures, colour combinations


Art is about relationships

A good painting {and by good in this context I mean satisfying to create and to look at for you, not necessarily good by arbitrary outside standards} is about relationships, which is the same as saying it’s about connection. The relationship between the colours you choose, between the shapes, between you and the subject, between you and the canvas, between you and yourself, between you and creative source.

It’s all connected in a web of reciprocal messages; when those channels are clear of obstructions, your pure self expression through art emerges. When there are fallen logs across the paths, in the form of self criticism, diluting what’s yours by copying others, lack of understanding about what the materials can do or simply lack of experience, making art can be a frustrating and unsatisfying experience.

It’s a journey, undoubtedly. Most of us do not learn our own language overnight. If you’re struggling with your personal art language, if you’re finding that your work is too often ending up looking like someone else’s that you love, if you’re getting stuck, confused and frustrated, if you need some support in making art that’s truly yours, I can help you with that.

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