Welcome to my ideas on art and life...
Easy Is Boring
In art and life, there is a point at which repetition drives complacency, becomes stale, inspiration and energy decline. One of the ways to course correct when the doldrums set in is to investigate your relationship with the concept of flow.
Most people can recall times when they were so immersed in an activity that they lost all sense of time yet enjoyed a heightened level of awareness and focus. In athletic terms, this is ‘the zone’.
Renowned psychologist Mihalyi Czikszentmihalyi developed the concept of flow to describe it. He defines flow as the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
In simple terms, flow occurs when the degree of challenge balances with the outcome of the activity. If the challenge is too hard, you become disheartened, discouraged, frustrated; too easy, you become disheartened, discouraged and bored.
The flow zone is always moving and it’s important to be aware of where you are in relationship to it.
If your art – or your life – no longer inspires you, perhaps you have lost touch with the flow zone. Perhaps it’s time to look for new ways to test yourself and get back in the flow…
In art and in life, building expectations into an activity is a natural and very tempting process. So many of the activities that make up our lives are driven by what we expect will be the result when we are done. The reality is that often, in spite of our best efforts, the activity turns our differently than what we expected. Result? Disappointment, self criticism, doubt, regret, wishing we could have a do over.
What is lost in the flurry of self recrimination is the learning. So many important things in our lives could not be learned any other way than ‘failing’.
Art is a perfect venue for failed expectations or learning. The difference is the perspective we bring to the canvas.
It’s very good practice to plan an art project and bring all your technical skills and knowledge to the easel. The key is to avoid the trap of expecting a particular outcome.
Regardless of the result of anything you try, a simple review of your work by asking these three questions will guarantee growth, learning, and no bruises from beating yourself up!