One of the challenges I have found in making my art is to remember where it is all headed. One day I catch glimpses of the direction of my art and this informs each individual painting I am working on. It infuses them with clarity and potency. But then a few days go by and I come in and work for a while and I simply forget for where I am going. A whole day might pass before re-remembering what exactly I am after in my work.
So I came up with this little trick.
One day I spent about an hour writing down every conceivable word that relates to my work. They describe aspects of your work presently or even in the future. For example I started my list with these words…nature, weathered, erosion, universal, abstract, spiritual, vulnerability, saturation, subtlety, poem, quiet, joy, primitive, line, drawing, symbols, etc. In about 25 minutes I had over a hundred.
You can do this too. It is easier to come up with your words while looking at 2-3 paintings you particularly love.
Next, go over the list and choose about a dozen words that are particularly relevant. The ones that say YES! to you. And this is an important step…these 12 have to really resonate with you.
Pin these words up somewhere you can see them in your day. After a few days of looking at them some will emerge as more potent than all the others. And then, have a second go at this editing process. Try to whittle the 12 down to 3 words.
When you read these three words your energy level should uptick. You should feel slightly more energetic. They should bring you alive. They should make you want to make art.
In a way, these 3 words are your simplified mission statement. They are your “Uber” words.
Next, make a bold sign—in fact make several. Post one on your studio wall. Put another one in your house somewhere you will see it. Make it the background of your iPhone. Consider adding these 3 words under your name on your website.
Now when you wander into your studio, possibly after doing random errands, possibly already distracted by whatever life has thrown at you, you can simply glance at your studio wall and read three words.
Three words that remind you of what is meaningful to you. They are why you stepped up to make art in the first place. These words are why you choose, against all odds, to make a life centered upon creativity. One filled with boldness, risk, faith and joy.
Three words that instantly bring you a little bit more alive and upon seeing them delicately deliver you, once again, back to your art and of course your life as well.