Hey Sailor! You’re Not Lost Again, Are You?

Artists are a lost bunch. All of us. We’re always pushing the envelope, burning the midnight oil, biting off more than we can chew and forging trails where there aren’t any. I may look like I know exactly what I’m doing, but I can assure you I’m lost half the time. It’s my job, because it’s the quickest way to end up somewhere I’ve never been.

Getting lost takes minimal skill. If you’re curious about things and a bit of an explorer, you’ll get lost. The trick, of course, is in finding your way home again.

How many times have you started an art project — filled with optimism and certainty — and followed your creative muse around this way and that until, about halfway through, you’re in no man’s land with no clear path to the finish line?

A key question to ask is “What am I trying to do?” Reestablish your original vision in your mind or — gut check — admit you were hoping things would become clear as you went along. Then push on. Move confidently into unknown territory and keep your eyes open for familiar sign posts: Emotional content, solid composition, pleasing color, visual hooks, tonal harmony and masterful technique.

You can rarely think your way out of an art dilemma of this nature. Too many options, too much procrastination. Roll up your sleeves and get in there, even if you’re not sure where it’s all heading. Work it. Push it. Find the art.

Illustration courtesy Lindsay Podd used under a Creative Commons license.

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6 Comments

  1. Wow! What a radical concept. Like the writer facing a blank page, or the visual artist facing a blank canvas, but in this case the canvas is already in progress! Very interesting. I remember our conversation about the artist who sells more works that were partially finished that he completed live than the works that were already finished. If I don’t know where it’s going anyway, who cares about the investment of time, effort, heart that already went into the not-quite-yet piece; I can treat it as a STARTING point instead of a stall…I like it! Thanks for the inspirational concept.

    Reply
  2. Precisely! There’s no reason for your art to languish in the almost-was bin. Go ahead and take some risks and push the work into unknown territory. That’s where you’ll find the good stuff.

    Reply
  3. HI! Thank you for using my work and also giving me credit for it!

    -Lindsay Podd

    Reply
  4. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, that’s it, that’s my worst stumbling block. How did you know?? ;-) Of course, I’m not the only procrastinator, the only one with paintings in her studio that sit halfway done for … years? Years. THANKS for the encouragement and the kick in the … well, you know.

    Reply
  5. Oh, no, I didn’t realize my typographic wink would turn into an emoticon on your blog. It looks a bit cheesy next to all the art! I’m sorry! Ha!

    Reply
  6. This is kitsch,Dan…sorry to tell you…you may sell it to

    a Geman Brewing factory in Hamburg.They have actually a brand beer,named “Jever” and are broadcasting similar ads on German TV.

    Reply

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