A Not-So-Traditional Conceptual Realist
Finding a Safe Place

Do You Use Risk as a Strategy?

The idea of a risky strategy makes you clench up.  The words are full of negativity, of dire results or parental condemnation, or at the very least a moment of staring into the mirror and wondering how you could have been so stupid.  As humans we avoid risk as a general rule. So we might not see it as anything useful in our daily art practice.

Risk, of course, is just a word.  We put our own emotional attachments to it, and then we use the knee jerk response to turn anything uncomfortable into the monster in the closet.  Don't try new subject matter.  Don't challenge the status quo.  Don't waste precious time and materials on something that will not come up to our expectations.

But growth is an ongoing process.  And it isn't easy.  So I've turned risk, despite the uncomfortable associations, into a strategy I can use. 

Risk allows you to put all your anxiety into one bucket.  And while you're worried about the awkwardness of your attempt, you don't worry about the other things - such as your drawing skills, or your paint application, or whether or not you're repeating yourself, yet again.  And when the paint is dry, when you study what you accomplished or did not accomplish, there are some things that will become immediately visible. 

Like the fact that you can either draw well, or you can't.

That your brush marks are sloppy or more expressive than you thought.

That your ideas are lost beneath your stilted compositions.

For me, there are only a few ways I can progress as an artist.  I can show up, practice, and educate myself.  I can find a coach willing to point out missteps in my technique. 

What I can't do is let the scary idea that I do not have enough talent keep me from looking at what I actually accomplish.   

It takes bravery to face our greatest fears, but only from that place of honesty can we grow toward our best work.