The Power of Forgetting

The Power of Forgetting

Maybe Bonnie should call the class “Anyone Can Teach!” I wasn’t sure how to prepare for the class, and this got me to thinking about how I approach painting and how I have developed my process over time. Here’s what I figured out about myself:

Early in my career, I had a lot to learn. I studied with Rassouli and Fusionart and learned the things I needed to know. Now I am at the point in my art where the important thing is for me to forget those basics, and paint without constraints. Painting through forgetting gives me power and unlimited access to my talent.

Discipline, media, form and function; these comprise the ground rules of art. True talent is the ability to simultaneously know and break the rules. Painting from knowing the rules and breaking through them is power. Painting from not knowing the rules is merely accidental. There is a world of distinction between the two.

Think about some familiar paintings. It’s obvious when the artist has learned the rules, and then found an expressive path that bypasses convention. Obvious examples include Picasso, Van Gogh and Modigliani. Each took something recognizable and transformed it into something that surpassed its reality. Each artist was a major rule-breaker!

Now when I paint, I ignore the rules. They are there, but at arms length. I have no expectation for my work to look like anything or be compared to anyone else’s. I don’t think; I DO. And when I’m done, I am amazed at what I’ve created.

Realizing this, I put away the worry of how to prepare for Bonnie’s class. Other than knowing I had canvas and paint, I had no expectation of how to teach people to create. I invented the class as I went along, and we were all very much in the moment. We used our hands, brushes, sticks, anything we liked to put the paint on the canvas. We didn’t worry about going over someone else’s work or about “getting it right”. We played, secure in our basic knowledge of creativity. The result was astounding; a rich, textural painting that is alive with all our energy. Thanks to Bonnie Landau, Claudine Manning, Christina Maria, Orma Hammond, Hope Goss, Sonia Madixx and Shain Requicha. We were able to forget the rules and create without limits!

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