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    « Taking Stock | Main | PiƱata »

    Discover Your Creativity [Part 3]: Constraints

    “The melody faded like a rainbow after a storm, or like winds calming down at last; and what was left was calm, and possibility, and relief.”
    Gregory Maguire, Wicked

    Teach Yourself to be Creative, Idea #3: Constraints

    Discover Your Creativity [Part 1]: carry a camera
    Discover Your Creativity [Part 2]: perceived plenty

    When I draw mandalas, the shape develops outward toward the edges of the page. Complete freedom? Well there is the constraint of the page size. I like working on mandalas on smaller pages, like 5x8" pages. Much smaller and I have to lean my hand on the edge of the journal which annoys me. Any larger and my designs seem to get lost in the vast white space and then I get caught up with balance and composition and lopsidedness and I don't really want to deal with all that. I just want to draw.

    What constraints do you perceive in your artwork?

    Do you set constraints for yourself, and do they help you?

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    Reader Comments (5)

    My biggest constraint seems to be time. I have yet to get to a place where I can leave a page of my journal unfinished once it's begun. I have an idea and I run with it. Time (aka reality/life) happens and I have to move on to more mundane things like work and laundry and such. It really frustrates me to have an incomplete thought on my pages, though I do have to allow for it.

    {Tammy}: meme, I get that it is frustrating to leave a page that you are really into. One of the ways I deal with that is to divide up the process in my head - paint/collage/writing and do whatever of those I can do in the time/space that I have that day. Rarely do my pages come together all at once, but I can see that if you are used to doing an entire page at one sitting that breaking that up would be difficult! Best wishes to finding a process that works for you.

    01.6.2012 | Unregistered Commentermeme

    Somewhere I saw posed the idea that we self impose constants because we need them, that endless choices overwhelm us. It stuck with me and I am continuing to think about that. I think about my kids and how limiting them to two options is usually freeing for them.

    {Tammy}: Carlene, I would agree with the thought that constraints help us deal with infinite choice. When I draw a mandala indeed there are infinite choices as to where the next line goes, so the constraint helps me focus and draw the next line. The comparison to providing limited options to kids is a good one.

    My biggest constraint is internal - I have the time, space and the resources. Perfectionism aka fear of not being good enough - it's cripppling sometimes. Mostly I give it as good a beating as it gives me but sometimes . . . The advice to just sit with the constraint and undertand its purpose is good - what ever it is had a valid purpose once (in my case to protect me from ridicule and criticism) but that situaton is long past and I'd like to be rid of it once and for all but it seems to be an on-going battle.

    {Tammy}: I don't know why I've escaped perfectionism in my artwork - but I endure it in other parts of my life. One thought is to start a journal for experiments. In that journal, you can test paints, scribble with various pens, build collages with limited colors, etc. It is only a test, so it might let you play without that darned CENSOR bothering you. Please stop by again!

    01.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

    One side of my brain insists that the drawing look as realistic as possible while the other half pushes me to be free of that constraint and just draw for the sheer joy of drawing , just draw from the heart.......

    {Tammy}: Deb, I shall respond to both of your comments. I added a bit to Wendy's comment about perfectionism. I understand how it stifles, holds us back, limits our freedom to just play. Almost everything I do is abstract, to keep me away from the perfectionism bunny that gripes when things don't look realistic. I tried to draw a bowl of dry pasta a few years ago and literally threw my pencil across the room! Can't do it.

    01.7.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

    I read thru your other commenters and realized that the one by Wendy could have been written by me too.

    01.7.2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeb

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