Instinct and your Creative Voice: Part 2
By Wendy Wagner
Continuing with the thought, “How does an artist tap into intuition to find their creative voice?”, I compiled the words of artists Ingrid Christenson, Richard Greathouse, Amaya Gurpide, Stanka Kordic, and Nicolas Martin. I left the question open to interpretation.
Tip: Honing your craft takes time and dedication.
Nicolas and Ingrid spoke of the dedication it takes in the beginning to hone one’s craft. Nicolas said, “Put a plan in place. I had to get better every day, and for that, I had to change the way I used my time.” This included quitting a job, sacrificing seeing friends or having a social life, and selling his car.
As for the progression in his work, he said, “My subjects were linked to my own progress. I painted what I had never painted before, focusing on my strengths and working on my weaknesses. The visual identity is the most important aspect, and I was looking for my own voice without forcing it. I was ready to start painting things that were more important to me.”
“Through years of life work, my eyes have sharpened and can see and understand colour in a way they couldn’t when I was new to paint. As well, those years have given me a solid muscle memory for the paint consistency and brush pressure that I need for specific effects,” Ingrid said. “When I’m at my most creative, I think it’s because I’m at my most efficient; [I’m] rifling through my experience in painting for as many ways as possible to approach the subject and jump into the process confidently, because I know what the paint will do. I’d have to say that it’s years of targeted work, not intuition, that helped me find my creative voice.”
This seems like an obvious suggestion, yet it’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have enough hours in the day without forfeiting the urge to scroll through social media or put others' needs before our own.
Tip: Follow your curiosities.
Others alluded to the value of pursuing where your interest takes you.
Richard Greathouse said, “I think finding one's voice is simply a by-product of the genuine investigation into one’s own curiosities. I believe that if one tries to hone their voice outright, their work will likely result in something ingenuine, like putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.”
Stanka Kordic seems to agree: “I wish I had an easy linear-type answer, but there really isn’t one. The closest I can come to (as cliché as it is) is to try and remember the freedom and confidence children have with their art. If you watch them when they are very young, they have no fear and are absolutely sure of what they are doing. Then along the way, the lessons start, the rules start, and we totally forget that lightness in our work. Another cliché: ‘trust your gut.’ I actually listen to those nudges and voices in my head (eg. use pink on her hair!) and do that. I have learned the judging comes later in the process.”
Amaya Gurpide echoed a similar philosophy: “I don’t think there is a simple answer to this because there are so many factors that affect and inform each person's intuition. Human beings are so subtly complex in the individual ways that we see and do things. The real key to me is to be aware of our natural impulses and how we can tune into them creatively.” She continues, “As a way to understand this process, I’m constantly collecting a compound of thoughts and images from all sorts of sources: art, film, photography, daily life, nature, music, reading, etc. I’m interested in the poetic connections of these associations and their linking power. They are like a strand of DNA that connects it all, like a beading thread, and when you visualize them all together you can have a pretty good idea of what moves you, mentally and emotionally.”
I think the reason we paint is because we have something inside that compels us. Perhaps these tips can assist you in clarifying your why. Do the hard work, listen to your gut, and be true to yourself is great advice for both life and art.