4 Big Questions Answered – Nicholas Wilton – Ep 77
April 12, 2023
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
Over the last few weeks, your burning artist questions have been pouring into the website through our voice recorder tool. I wish I could personally answer them all, but today I will address the four biggest and most asked questions to help you along on your journey. Join me as I dive into how we can know our work is finished, better develop our flow state, find our way out of a rut, and scale up our work.
Listen if you are interested in…
- When do you know a piece is finished? [2:23]
- Training your brain to flow better [12:37]
- Finding your way out of a rut [20:13]
- Scaling up your work [29:41]
Identifying finished work
How do you know when a painting is finished? It starts with our ability to sense that completion for ourselves. If you look at the canvas and it feels complete, it probably is! That’s why knowing yourself on a deeper level is such a big part of the artistic journey. But for those just starting out, a felt sense of completion takes time. As you develop, you strengthen the relationship between past and current work so that you recognize what has the juice and what doesn’t. Does the canvas in front of you have more or less energy than what you worked on last year? If it’s below what you’ve done in the past, push yourself to go further. Often, taking a few more risks is what your work needs to get to the finish line. Just don’t give up too early!
I’ve spent my entire art journey trying to figure out flow state. Because I recognized what it would mean for my art practice if I could flow with increased ease, efficiency, and a higher level of enjoyment. That’s why my conversation in Episode 74 was so mind-blowing! The book Your Brain on Art shows us that we can train our brains to embrace and utilize flow state at a higher level. Ivy Ross, one of the book’s co-authors, reminds us that the more we just do our art instead of constantly critiquing and judging it, the more capacity we build to flow. One of the ways I cultivate flow in my life is through a daily art practice. I’m not saying you need to spend hours in your studio per day to master flow state. All you need is five minutes every day to play, experiment, and drop into creativity. It doesn’t even matter what you make! Most of the time I’m just doodling. But it’s the daily play and experimentation that strengthens the flow state muscle.
Embracing the lows
Your art practice won’t always feel good. That’s not to say it should ever be toxic or harmful, but just like life, there are ups and downs. Everyone goes through rough patches on the artistic journey. Usually more than once. So understanding the cyclical nature of our practice means we need to put strategies in place to get through the lows easier and faster. The good news about ruts like these is they often come before our largest breakthroughs. They allow us to take bold risks and propel our art forward. We have nothing else to lose because we don’t have a gold standard that other people are expecting from us yet. Including ourselves! I also find that rough patches typically have a point. There is something you need to take from it that will help you set the course for the next leg of the journey. Use that knowledge to reframe your thinking around difficult times to help you keep moving forward.
Resources & People Mentioned
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.