A work of art can be a window to the soul of an artist.
Alternatively, it can be a painting to make a statement or to make a dollar.
Painting with your moods is a good way to explore the nature of your private artist’s essence.
Painting when you are feeling good is easy. The paint seems to know where to go, the light seems just right and the composition flows naturally.
Painting when you are angry can be challenging.
Painting when you are depressed or sad can be nearly impossible.
In part, the difference between a hobbyist and a professional artist is having the ability to paint through the anger or despair and continue to produce. Painting can be therapeutic and very telling. Some artists paint the beauty and joy of life, while others paint the anger and despair they see in the world. Neither is superior or more correct. In addition, over the course of a lifetime, an artist may do both.
Rather than taking a heavy, psychological approach to this, just use your mood to guide you in your quest for new, fresh approaches to painting. Let your mood allow you to expand your repertoire and advance as a well-rounded artist.
Go With The Flow
Are you feeling bright and springy? Are you bursting with vibrancy? Let those colors make a big splash. Enthusiasm and spontaneity on the canvas can be an energetic exercise in a loose interpretation and abstraction. Loose watercolor and acrylics on large supports will allow you to explore the limits of frivolity. Walking on the wild side with paint is a lot safer than many alternatives.
Going Against The Grain
There are times when you just feel down. This does not refer to a severe emotional problem or tragedy. The average “down in the dumps” sort of day that befalls us all on occasion is a good challenge for an artist. Make a conscientious decision to paint the mood away.
Think of a favorite location, a memorable experience or a cherished treasure. Turn on the music that makes you happy, get out the brushes and begin. Focusing on a happy place, creating or recreating it can help the mood to change from one of sadness to one of happy anticipation.
Against All Odds
There can be times in which painting a smiley face or a sunflower just is not going to perk you up. Periods of life can be sad or depressing. Painting to express the grief or sorrow can create a very personal outpouring that can be touching and powerful. Using the gift of your artistic ability and training to convey your feelings in the situation can be therapeutic and satisfying.
Introspection, at any point in a life, can bring new insight to an artist. This insight can broaden the artist’s eye and range. An epiphany of self-understanding can lead an artist in a new direction with new goals and aspirations. The phrase “When life serves you lemons, make lemonade” may be an overused idiom, but it can be applied here. Painting will take your mind off the situation to some degree. It allows the artist to focus on something else and in the end can act to vent some of the feelings associated with the situation. It may not remove the situation, but it can help to lighten the atmosphere a little.
Alter The Course
There are times that an artist is not in the mood to paint. That is fine for the hobby artist. If one is striving to become a professional artist, mood is not a luxury to which on can concede.
Blank canvas syndrome can hit anyone. The muse will not cooperate. To overcome this, an artist can try easing himself into the right frame of mind. Prepare or tidy up your area or studio. A neat work area gives one less excuse not to paint. Setting things up, arranging the paints and the brushes just to get the feel of things may help.
A huge, white canvas in the center of the studio can be very foreboding and daunting. A small study or sketch, with no visions of grandeur, is less intimidating. Paint something you know. Revisiting a subject takes the pressure off, and while it may not result in a masterpiece, it can open the dam to renewed confidence.
For each artist there are highly personal motives that move him to create art. The goal may be self-esteem, personal growth or financial reward. A student or professional artist is forever learning and growing. There is no one road to follow, and an artist will find that it is never consistent. Starts, stops, and pauses occur throughout life, and the same is true of an artist’s life.
Learning to work with, around and against the various moods we all must face is part of growing as an artist.