My latest paintings represent freedom and femininity to me (like a creative spirit coming to life). They seem to be bringing out more and more of that in me too.
Yet the other day I was painting and I started feeling super scared to make a mistake.
I realized I’d uncovered a few new techniques and I was really loving my character (especially the eyes). So of course I didn’t want to cover it up. But that fear of making a mistake was completely paralyzing. It was ruining the freedom in my painting.
Soon every mark seemed rigid and tight. I knew my painting needed something more, but I was afraid to make a mistake. So I went back to these steps.
Here’s 3 Ways to Paint With More Courage and Freedom:
- Go back to painting first layers – this always gets me back to playing and having fun again. That means I start dripping inks, splattering paint and experimenting with colors I don’t love so I feel less intimidated to create someting ugly.
- Work on many paintings at once – when I’m stuck on a character, I’ll often return to another painting in progress (usually one I don’t like and am not so afraid to ruin). Having many paintings at different stages always means that there are some I like less than others. So when I’m having trouble covering something up on one, I go to one I don’t like. Then I don’t care so much about making a mistake.
- Take in progress photos of your work – this has helped immeasurably for me to see my progress and know when I’ve overworked a piece and should’ve left it or when the changes really pushed the painting to a better place. When I recognize that I could’ve left a painting, I make sure to stop there on the next one. When I see pushing it made it better, I feel more confident about doing it again. Having the photos to look back on gives me a concrete way to document my progress, separate from my emotions (like doubt and fear and comparison).
Once I’ve taken these steps I feel more confident and carefree, so it’s easier to cover up my paintings. Those negative feelings creep up on me all the time. I never get rid of them. But my need to express and create something uniquely me is much louder.
You’ll see some of my favorite techniques for playing and painting more freely in the Serendpity 1 – Develop Your Style video sneak peek below (registration closes soon).
In this video preview from my online class Serendipity 1 – Develop Your Style, I share some of my favorite supplies and techniques for creating a painting with lots of layers. If you’re looking to add more whimsy and freedom to your artwork, paint with your fingertips and add layers of your favorite papers – like sheet music or book pages.
It’s taken a lot of mistakes to paint loosely and develop my own style, but it’s totally possible — you can learn how in my Serendipity 1 – Develop Your Style online course (which just started) and Serendipity 2 – Learn to Let Go (it’s the last day to register).
I hope that all helps to keep you inspired!