I had a bit of a crisis the other day. I was scheduled to go paint at an event where patrons could come and watch the artists at work, eat some food and drink some wine, and hopefully buy a painting. I have been to a number of these and for some reason, while I always have a good time, I seldom if ever sell anything. This fact usually does not bother me, but for some reason, this time it did. I just couldn't do it, so I didn't go.
I have been painting the same subjects the same way for many years now. Yes, my style has evolved and become more colorful, but I seem to have lost the spark of originality and uniqueness that some of my earlier work possessed. I must have painted the Colorado Street Bridge over 200 times by now. I can do it in my sleep. Is that good? People love it as a subject and I have made a fair amount of money from it, but is that good? I don't know. In any event, I need a change.
One of my heroes is Miles Davis, the jazz musician. He once said that he stopped playing ballads because he loved them so much. He was always changing, innovating and trying new things and consequently, he invented entirely new forms of music. He would try something new and his fans would rebel, hating the new and wishing he would go back to the old. He didn't. He kept pushing and finally his fans would follow too. I loved that about him.
So I decided to work on my Visioning Board. I started it years ago and I grows and changes as I do. It has pictures of Christo, paintings by Robert Burridge, a photo of Alexander Calder in his studio, and some of my own art. Working on it helps me get a grasp on what I want to do, and how I want to change.
I worked on it again this week. This time, I covered up some old images and added some new ones: images of works by Richard Diebenkorn and Franz Kline; a panoramic photo of my studio, a written narrative of what I want to do, and some new abstract paintings of my own.