What is a personal artistic journey? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “personal” is defined as relating to, or affecting a particular person. The word journey is defined in the same dictionary as something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another.
In university, I was taught that art was the communication of ideas in visual form.
So let’s put these ideas together. We could say a personal artistic journey is how artists explore and transform their ideas, the evolution of their practice over time. Their visual form will change or be altered as a result of the exploration of ideas, subject, and mediums.
When we look at great adventurers in history we can see common links between many of them. It’s safe to say that in the past adventurers traveled to new places. While traveling to the new lands they would discover unknown waterways, and topographies.
Sometimes the journey would lead to treasures! The explorer might come across new languages spoken by the indigenous people. The journey would lead to new knowledge and as a result the traveler would see the world differently than had they stayed home.
We could use the same analogy for any adventure we embark on whether it’s for finding spirituality, working in a new career, or literally traveling to a new destination. As an artist you go through a similar process when you choose to leave the safety of home or your comfort zone!
You will move forward into new methods, techniques or ideas in your artistic adventure. Sometimes you’ll create new treasures as a result of your journey. Your personal language will mature and evolve with more travels to different parts of your creative mind.
Growth or professional development is an important part of any calling.
Many artists have displayed change in their work. Let’s look at a well-known artist such as Gustav Klimt. Klimt painted beautiful portraits for his clients; his early works displayed images using realism and technical ability. As time passed and he allowed himself to wonder, new imagery emerged. Paintings laden with pattern, embellishment and interpretation became the treasures of Klimt’s artistic adventures. Klimt wasn’t afraid to try something unconventional for his time.
Picasso wasn’t afraid to travel to a variety of destinations during his artistic journey. He had his Blue and Rose periods, worked with sculpture, etchings, deconstruction and reconstruction, and cubing his subjects along the way.
Challenge yourself to take a look at the evolution of other historical artists. Observe the imagery early in their career and see how it changed through time.
How has your work changed since you began your journey? Where do you see it going in the next one, two, five, or ten years? Are you a little afraid to leave home, or will you charge out of your comfort zone, adding new vocabulary to your own personal way of working?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Learn more from Mixed Media Artist Jean Pederson
• Mixed Media Painting Workshop: Explore Mediums, Techniques, and the Personal Artistic Journey (book or download)
• Expressive Portraits: Watercolor and Mixed Media Techniques (paperback)
• Wet Glazing Watercolor Portrait (DVD)
• Watercolor Artist, August 2011: Create the illusion of depth in your paintings with these simple tips and helpful illustrations of linear and aerial perspective. (article)
• See her work at www.jeanpederson.com