Julia Cameron, in her book THE ARTIST'S WAY, suggests that we have periods of reading deprivation to become more creative. This, I have not been able to do with any degree of success. Why do we read so much? Why are the opinions and ideas of others so important to us? Why do we need to know how others feel about writing and painting or any other activity?
Do we read to justify, by comparison, our own way of looking at things. Is our own creative life so boring or uninteresting? Are we searching for answers in all the wrong places?
Escape or a thirst for knowledge? In my case, it's a little of both. I can lose myself in a good book, whether a novel, an art book, particularly art books; they take me to another time and place. I may be thirsting for something new to learn, new ways to do things. Or am I comparing my work to others? Do my paintings get an A or an F compared to what is published? Had I spent all the hours painting that I have spent reading and studying what other artists have done, would I be a better artist today? Maybe - maybe not. We do learn from each other and from those who have gone before us, but are we losing some of our own creativity by doing so?
I was taught early in my painting life to copy the old masters. Could this have instilled in me the idea that works of others were more important and better executed than anything I could do on my own? I wonder if this happens to other artists and performers who are insecure about their own abilities? Some continue to copy their entire lives.
Perhaps it's time to stop comparing what we do with others. We are all unique. We have our own song to sing, our own story to tell. Who knows, our song might be more melodious or our story better told than the ones we are imitasting. We can march to a different drummer. We can do our own thing, and our lives can be richer because of it.
I would like to believe that I have a "self" to express. Let's look inside ourselves for inspirsation. Let's not be an imitation of life. Let's strive to be a life to imitate.
Add a Comment