Friday, August 12, 2022

Letting Go!

Lots of interesting discussions go on in most online art-making classes, and the class led by Louise Fletcher has by far the most vocal participants I've encountered.

Louise's class is aimed at artists who focus on representational art-masking as well as those wanting to start or enrich the experience of abstraction in art-making.

At, many of my stencils and masks are representational.  For example, Cats s183 clearly depicts cats in a variety of poses.  Nevertheless, I see myself as having evolved into an abstract artist despite my college background that focused on representational imagery.

So anything I say comes from that mindset.  And from that position comes my message for today.  It can be boiled down to two words:  "Let go!" 

To elaborate....

My experience has been that some artists -- usually men -- start with a concept or even a mental image of what they want to accomplish. For those, it works. 

But, among painters/collage artists of nonrepresentational art, I suspect it's much more common to simply follow the process: Start with making a mark. Then respond, visually, to that mark ... repeat, repeat, repeat ... as if the artist and the artwork are having a conversation. 

The artist may come to a point of feeling the "conversation" has ended, but only for the time being; the issue under discussion remains to be resolved, later. 

One of my past art teachers used that very word -- "resolved." She would leave an unfinished piece when its "spark" had died (creative excitement had ebbed.) She would come back to it later, sometimes even years later, and at that point -- seeing it thru new eyes -- she would know exactly how to resolve it.

I gave found over time that I work the same way she does. 

There are no "mistakes" -- there is only progress. 

Our every brushstroke, every color choice, etc., teaches us something, even when we may not be immediately aware of that.

I suggest trusting that this learning does happen. I think that trust will help with the letting go -- which, at least in my opinion, leads to the most expressive abstract artworks. "Playing" and "letting go" feel the same to me, and I find the process addictive, no matter what results from each session.

There will always be critics -- both outside ourselves as well as within. I say, let the critics stew in their own sour sauce ... while I get on with the adventure of creating.

Cats s183 (6" x 6")

Thanks for hearing my soapbox speech of today! To scroll thru the pages of my masks and stencils at, please start here.

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