Sunday - 06 09 2020

Fitness for artists

No matter in which area we want to improve, whether it is fitness, sports, writing, painting, drawing, horseback riding or playing tennis, we are always faced with the same challenges.

An activity consists of an interplay of movements that eventually become so automatic that a state of flow is created.

The classic among books about flow is that of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It is worth reading (again)! He describes the conditions under which this flow experience takes place. Flow is not just “good mood” or “a good day”. We feel flow most intensely when we do something in a state of self-forgetfulness and everything is seemingly effortlessly orchestrated.

In the field of painting this can look like this:

You are rested and relaxed and have a good idea.

You draw and your pencil magically does exactly what you want.

You effortlessly mix the color you need.

You effortlessly add this color exactly where it looks awesome.

You have exactly the tool that makes the mark that makes a difference at that spot.

You are engrossed and always know exactly what you need to do to make the picture go one step further.

You know what to do so that your picture gets depth. Or how to strengthen the composition so that the picture stands out from a distance.

It can feel like this or something similar when your creative juices flow. It is extremely satisfying.

How can we please ALWAYS be in flow?

That’s where the title comes in. Belly, legs, butt. I recently read in a fitness bible that it is more effective to train the problem areas separately. Mhm, I thought to myself, that’s the same in painting! Very exciting!

If I want to make fast progress, it’s good to take the full program of painting apart and divide it into different areas, which you then train separately. Yes, training. Because we want to become better. Fitter. Happier.

The muscle groups of painting are the elements of the picture design:

Line, surface, composition, space, tonal value, color, texture

In an image many of these elements are active at the same time.

But to understand one element better, it is worthwhile to make only “belly”. Only the line. Or just the space division.

Because that trains the creative muscle.

If you want to learn more about this and find an easy way to get started with this kind of exercise, then read about the art subscription: the weekly dose of inspiration for creative people.

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