Finding your individual style as an artist isn’t difficult; in fact, it’s as easy as following your intuition. This guest post from artist Carrie Schmitt shows how easy it is to take a risk and discover what talents and passions lie within. Read on for Carrie’s terrific insight, and learn more about her fantastic videos, Abstract Flower Painting and Mixed Media Flower Paintings! ~ Jeannine
“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” ~ Edgar Degas
Never let not knowing how to do something stop you from doing it.
Not knowing how to paint a certain way can be a shortcut to originality. You begin at a place that can take years for others to reach—the stage of innovation. Out of necessity, you create something entirely new and authentically you.
When you see something that you can’t do, reframe your internal dialogue from, “I can’t paint that” to “I can’t do it that way, but I can find my own way.” View this as an advantage. You are free from the temptation to create something in a way that already exists!
In my art workshops, I teach how to paint self-portraits. I tell my students, “The lesson I am giving you is to figure it out for yourself. Don’t let something as little as not knowing how stop you from doing what you want to do.”
What unfolds is the discovery of individual styles that surprise us all. After we admired one woman’s breathtaking portrait, she said, “I thought I had messed it up and I hated it. So I just started wiping paint away, and then I ended up loving the effect.”
She took a risk and ventured into the unknown. Her mistakes led to a breakthrough in her artistic style and an exhilarating moment of creative genius.
She could have followed my safe and tidy instructions from start to finish on how I paint faces. Instead, she experienced the ecstasy of the true creative process, which is quite different from the ability to copy well.
In my videos, I share how to find your own style in various ways. One of my favorites is to use a magazine cover for inspiration. Recently, I fell in love with a Vogue magazine cover featuring Elle Fanning in a stunning rose dress and crown.
I have never painted a figure before, but how could I let that stop me? I painted my own interpretation by viewing my own limitations as my artistic style, rather than as a hindrance.
For example, I don’t know how to paint hands. So the challenge was to come up with an interesting way to represent them, perhaps by fading them into the dress.
I relied on mistakes to add interest to the piece and played with paint—until it became my favorite painting I have ever made.
The opposite of creativity is passivity. Non-action, based on our fear that because we don’t know how to do something a certain way, we should therefore not do it at all.
Act on what you don’t know to discover your unique artistic expression the world is waiting for you to share.
CARRIE SCHMITT is an artist, author, and instructor who began painting as a therapeutic practice after being diagnosed with a life-threatening allergy to heat in 2009. A native of Cincinnati, she moved to Seattle, WA in 2010 for its cooler weather. Her art is sold in galleries and in private collections internationally and licensed for clothing, home décor, accessories, toys and stationery with several companies. Her book, Painted Blossoms: Creative Expressive Flowers with Mixed Media, (North Light Books, 2015) shares tips and techniques to create floral art. Carrie also teaches workshops and retreats throughout the country. Her art has been featured in several publications, including Professional Artist Magazine and Cloth Paper Scissors. For more on Carrie and her work, visit carrieschmittdesign.com.