Hi and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy Designs blog. Picture this… you’ve followed an artist online for the last year and you really like their style of work. You love their influences and you’re drawn to how they express themselves. They’ve even inspired you to pick up a pen and start drawing. But after a year, you’re aching to grow. You want to try new things, and this artist who’s been a major source of inspiration seems to be stuck! Here’s the thing, as an artist you’ve got to be flexible! Today we’re gonna talk about flexibility and why it’s important for your art.
There is an artist who I’ve been following for the last year or so. And before you ask, no, she is not like the artist I mentioned in the example above. This woman rocks! Her name is Leigh Ellexson. Leigh caught my attention through one of her sketchbook tour videos. As she flipped through her sketchbooks showing what she’d worked on over the last few months, I fell in love with her style. Leigh works with a limited colour palette, she doesn’t use black for outlining at all! I’ve been really inspired by her to try to do something similar. I wanted to do a piece where my palette was limited to 4 colours (no black allowed) so I gave it a go.
To be honest, I felt a little bit cagey when I was doing this drawing… uncomfortable even. I found it difficult to spread the colour evenly over the page so it looked visually pleasing. As I struggled my way through the piece I found myself wanting to go back to where I was comfortable… to my prismacolor pencils, with no limits on how I do colour. I started thinking about the way I prefer to do things and it was then that I realised how important the whole exercise had been.
It’s important to be flexible with what you have and what you do
“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here a little while, then it’s gone” James 4:14 NLT. You’re not promised tomorrow and you just don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, so it’s important to be flexible with what you have and what you do. Through this exercise, the Lord showed me how I’d been holding onto things.
If you can’t adapt, you become obsolete
I’d been holding onto creating art in a particular way using particular products… and I justified it. I’d say “coloured pencils are my medium”, but deep down I’d been holding onto particular methods that may not be here tomorrow. Go with me for a moment… Prismacolor could go bankrupt and then there is no more Prismacolor coloured pencils. Or my financial status could change and I might no longer be able to afford them. Or I might lose the use of my hand etc etc. If I hold on to these ways and can’t adapt, I become obsolete.
I love V8 Supercars and when Craig Lowndes drives he has his foot flat to the floor pressing on the accelerator. His leg is tensed! He’s fully focused as he concentrates intensely on getting in front of all of the other drivers so he can be on the podium at the end of the race. Incredible pressure is being applied to the accelerator in his car. But at some point in the race, his foot has to come off the accelerator as he’s going to need to brake.
You’ve gotta be prepared to bend and flex
You can drive a v8 supercar with your foot just on the accelerator, but if you do, you’re going to crash. If you’re not prepared to bend and flex to brake, then you’re going to wind up in the kitty litter! And it’s the same for us as artists and crafters.
If I’m not flexible and I keep doing the same things, week in, week out, month in, month out, I will become boring. I’ll crash in the eyes my followers… why would anyone want to read what I have to say or buy my work? As artists you have to be prepared to be flexible. You need to be able to look up from the page you’re working on to pick up a different pen, to try a new paint or even give pastels a whirl, if that’s your kinda thing. Flexibility is how you remain relevant and interesting in this fast paced society. You need to be an easy adapter!
So now I hope you can see why flexibility is important for your art
You know that the first flex is always the hardest… but once you start, you’ll find it gets easier the more you try. I promise! I hope you take some time to think about ways you can be more flexible with your art. If you do, or you already are, share a link to your page in the comments below! I would love to follow you and watch your flexibility unfold. You might just be the inspiration I need to flex even more.
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Until next time, listen to your heart and sharpen your coloured pencils. A masterpiece awaits!
Bless you my friend