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Monday, June 25, 2012

Why Detours are Good for Your Art

'Desert Pink 3'          4x4"           oil on panel           ©Karen Margulis

I took a detour today and I don't feel guilty about it.  I went into the studio with all the good intentions of a productive day working on my commissions and catching up on paperwork.  I was quickly side-tracked.  A little acrylic that I started yesterday called out to be finished.  OK just a few minutes on the acrylic should finish it and then back to what I need to do. My muse had other ideas.

A variation on a Cactus bloom (from top left) oil on panel, acrylic on canvas, pastel on pastelmat, watercolor and ink, monotype with black ink and pastel   available in my Etsy Shop HERE
I finished the acrylic and then remembered I had painted this flower in pastel so I took it out to compare. Then my head started spinning. What if I tried this flower in watercolor?  How about a monotype?  So I quickly took out my supplies (thank goodness for having each medium organized in it's own plastic crate) I finished the watercolor and the monotype and set them aside to dry. Now how about oil? I dug through my paints and found a tube of magenta and set to work.  After a busy morning I had explored the same subject in 4 mediums!
I didn't work on my commissions and I didn't do any paperwork but I don't feel guilty because sometimes we have to take a detour and go where the muse takes us. It might seem crazy but in the end being an artist is about the journey and not the destination.  If we are always too concerned with sticking to the 'right' path we will never know where the other path might have led. I know that I am supposed to be creating a brand, promoting myself, creating a cohesive body of work...and on and on. But if I don't stop to paint just for the sake of painting then I will not be able to grow to my full potential.  I have to give myself permission to take a break from what I am 'supposed to do'  and enjoy my own art journey.
Detours are good for your art because they help you explore new territory which keeps you from getting in a rut and creating paintings that are only in your comfort zone. They can keep your outlook fresh and give you ideas to use in your usual work. Detours can take away the pressures of creating art that people want or expect you to do. Your detours will only help you grow as an artists so don't feel guilty when you get the urge to go off the trail!

What version do you prefer?

'Desert Bloom'   8x10  pastel
'Desert Pink 2'     6x6   acrylic
'Desert Pink 1'    monotype with pastel
'Desert Pink 4'    watercolor & ink


Helen Cooper said...

Great post! I feel the same! At times you want to /have to /need to try something different to keep fresh and stimulated. AND without the guilt!!!

My favourite is the oil I think.

Karen said...

Thank Helen. I have to remind myself that it's this post is a reminder to myself as well. My favorite is also the oil!

Jennifer Edwards said...

Wow, Karen!!Your detour is just gorgeous!! They are each beautiful in their own right! But, if I had to choose, with this grouping, it might be the oil, the first one. Something sbout the luscious texture of it! I'd say it was a day well spent in the studio.

Shinhuey Ho said...

"being an artist is about the journey and not the destination." well said!

Karen said...

Thank you Jennifer! It really was a fun day and things took on a life of their own!

Karen said...

Shinhuey Thank you! It is something my friends and I always try to remember especially when we have those frustrating days!

Anonymous said...

All of them are great, my favorite is the pastel!

Carmen Beecher said...

Karen, you are so right! I was feeling very low last week, so I did no small paintings, I decoupaged my shoes! Then I turned a half-finished painting into an abstract. My detours were good therapy.

Anonymous said...

I think they are all wonderful, but my favorite is the oil.

Nancy Goldman said...

I really like them all but your acrylic is my favorite.

Unknown said...

Karen, ok i most liked your pastel, a medium that you have alsolutely mastered. But I am intrigued by your use of the word MUSE. What is this?

Unknown said...

Karen, my first comment on your blog which I love reading and following your art. I love the pastel version of the flower. If you have time I'd like you to explain your "muse". thx

Karen said...

I love reading your responses! So interesting. I appreciate hearing from you!

Karen said...

Thank you! I have always thought of my muse as being the source of inspiration....what it is that I am most drawn to to express in my art. Here is a definition I found online:
Greek Mythology. Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
A guiding spirit.
A source of inspiration.
muse A poet.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin Mūsa, from Greek Mousa.]

WORD HISTORY The Muse has inspired English poetry since Chaucer invoked her in 1374. Muse comes from Latin Mūsa, from Greek Mousa. There are Greek dialect forms mōsa and moisa, and all three come from an original *montya. As to the further origins of this form, a clue is provided by the name of Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory and mother of the Muses. Her name is the Greek noun mnēmosunē "memory," which comes from *mnā-, an extended form of the Greek and Indo-European root *men-, "to think." This is the root from which we derive amnesia (from Greek), mental (from Latin), and mind (from Germanic). The reconstructed form *montya that is the ancestor of Greek Mousa could then mean something like "having mental power."

Read more:

Anonymous said...

Oil because there is more lights and texture, but I do love the acrylic as well. ..