Hello dear artist!
You’ve discovered my website and perhaps now you’re wondering what exactly Studio Journey is all about.
Studio Journey was born out of my desire to acquire a giant organic library of painting prompts, exercises and ideas to excite my imagination when I’d go into the studio to paint.
I wanted to gather up concepts, exercises and inspiration to feed my creative spirit.
I wanted to give to the world what I wish I’d had all these years: ongoing encouragement and inspiration as I approached my painting.
While creating Studio Journey I’ve been reminded of the ways in which creating art is similar to creating music. The musical metaphor made me consider calling this Studio Journey Symphony.
The symphony is a journey of composition
It tells a story from beginning to end. It’s complete in itself. Just as some of our own works in progress are durch komponiert, meaning that some of our paintings are “through composed” at every stage…they work whether they’re raw and immediate or more “finished” and refined. Of course not all of our paintings will be durch komponiert, but we live for the ones that are!
The language of music relates exquisitely to what we do as abstract artists. We’re composers. We love our work to be “through composed”. We improvise like jazz musicians. We riff. We work in a series (like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with his repeating refrain and variation of ‘da da da daaaaaa‘.
We work with simplicity and constraint like composers. Indeed, in the background of our paintings there’s a symphony playing. It’s the undercurrent and the unfolding of our own experience.
See how the musical metaphor maps onto our Studio Journey experience below:
- Studio Start where we explore navigating the membership is akin to the musical Prelude.
- Studio Concept is where we’ll explore the concept or theme of the month. This is akin to Allegro: Introductory theme. This develops the concept.
- Studio Exploration is where we’ll explore and reflect upon inner and outer resources that inform our work. This maps onto Adagio/Andante which is a slow, reflective movement.
- Studio Exercise is where we’ll explore and experiment with the concept of the month and where we’ll implement what we’ve learned. This is akin to Bourre/Scherzo/Pizzicato which is a playful, exploratory dance or a joke or playful exercise.
- Studio Demo is where I’ll create a painting from beginning to bringing it in for a landing. This maps onto Finale which is a coda or wrap up.
- Studio Secrets is the wild card. This will be a surprise. It could be tools, tips, techniques or an interview…or something else entirely! This is akin to the Encore in music.
So where do we start as we begin our Studio Journey?
Start where you are. Begin your symphonic journey of composing your own authentic art by trusting yourself as you explore and experiment.
What does this journey look like? What are the guideposts along the way?
It all starts with your desire to create. You want to create wondrous works of art that wow you! You yearn to breathe life into your paintings.
And so you answer the call of your yearning to express yourself and you begin.
You step into the terra incognito, the unknown territory.
Driven by the mystery of it all, by the unseen and perhaps unconscious forces of your life, you have your reasons, your WHY for why creating is important to you.
And along your journey you’ll amass a giant organic library of images, dreams, memories, inspiration, influences, journal work, investigations, exploratory studies, and experimental work.
You’ll notice that your ‘why’ fuels your inspiration and dedication to your work.
Noticing all these things, you’ll make notes in your art journal a book of your observations you’ll treasure for years because it documents your own personal journey of meaning, aliveness and creation. Giving visibility to your dreams as well as your ongoing search for your own true expression, you’ll document your journey with a deep sense of curiosity and inquiry.
By exploring the inner and outer provisions that fuel your work, you’ll learn discover and revisit the holy grail of creating which is to trust yourself.
As you explore tools, supplies and studio setup, you’ll write and explore in your art journal and learn to cultivate an attitude of exploration and experimentation.
You’ll develop the habit of searching and finding your way as you create.
You’ll build your own personal lexicon of mark making and you’ll learn the potency of creating many ‘starts’ and working in a series.
You’ll cultivate a daily studio practice (even thinking about art counts!) and you’ll discover ways to get started easily in your studio by exploring and implementing the 6 maquette exercise.
You’ll learn to activate the canvas and learn that the canvas is alive!
You’ll grapple with the middle of the painting, much like Dante Alighieri in The Divine Comedy found himself in the middle of his life feeling lost.
You’ll learn ways through the dark night of the soul of not knowing what to do with your painting.
You’ll explore intuitive composition informed by the foundations of visual contrast, predominance, edges, distance between things, simplicity and constraint as integrating the painting with an underlying substructure.
You’ll discover the astonishing power of value in making your painting pop across a room. You’ll learn about value studies, simplifying value and value + color and the expressive power of value.
You’ll study color and the inherent value in color. You’ll explore visual contrast employing color.
You’ll imagine finishing a painting but begin to ask yourself: Is a painting ever really finished? You’ll begin to see that it’s about living the questions (as Rilke said) and learning about the decision of when to stop as an artist. You’ll discover that it’s about your own authorship as a creator. You’re the composer, author, artist.
You’ll realize the potency of the concepts of using simplicity and constraint in your art.
And you’ll return back to the foundations, over and over again and see that you’ve come a long way on your journey.
You’ll learn about continuing your journey and how to keep it fresh and alive.
You’ll try further refinements in your work.
You’ll learn one of the secrets of the pros (and there are several): experimentation is the sine qua non of being an artist.
Improvisation will become your new normal. We’ll discuss what we can learn from improvisational jazz musicians as well as from improvisational theatre and how we can implement it in our studio.
Ongoing painting explorations/exploratory studies/experimental works/painting prompts/challenges/exercises to keep your work fresh and alive.
Building up your giant organic library of images, colors, shapes, marks, gestures, textures, vocabulary and so forth.
And finally, coming back full circle to answering the call to create your deepest work.