Dreamweaver, 11 x 15″ acrylic, ink
“You must learn […] to manifest the wildness of an artist. This wildness has many faces. It is an amalgam of passion, vitality, rebelliousness, nonconformity, freedom from inhibitions. Think of this wildness as ‘working naked’.”
– Eric Maisel
Maisel recommends taking this literally – take off your cloths to paint! He mentions a few of the luminaries in painting history who were known to occasionally paint at their easels in such an immodest fasion. Georgia O’Keefe and Marc Chagall were among them. His point is that artists must nurture their creativity through a number of activities, one of them being to connect with their “wild” side. Doing something outrageous is one way to do this and I can’t think of too many things more outrageous than painting naked. It would solve the chronic problem I have of getting splatters of paint on my best clothes.
Some of his recommendations to “get wild” are a little more tame than this one (though I do aim to try this out once my mother-in-law moves out into her new place). One I like is “think big thoughts” – for example, ask yourself “what is the very most that can be done with the color blue?”. Don’t just make a painting with blue in it, but try something outrageous with blue.
Lately I’ve been connecting with my wild side a little each time I paint by “warming up” with starting a bunch of monoprints. This activity is mainly about getting some color, shape and texture down on paper without the intention of finishing them as complete paintings. Once I feel some energy flowing this way, I switch gears and start moving those inks over to larger pieces and adding acrylics to the mix. Later I go back to the monoprints and work more on those that have some potential. I find I’m more productive once I’ve spent some time just playing to loosen up.
The trick is to maintain the same spontaneity when working on “real” paintings as you have when loosening up. Stay wild!