When I teach Anatomy, I have learned that it’s essential to go beyond muscle groups and bones. Making art is bigger than technique. Sure, artists need to develop their skills. Learning anatomy informs your work and makes it realistic. But if you focus on only skill and drive your art with the critical eye of a perfectionist or draftsman, it will not thrive as art on its own. It will always be limited to our vision and captive to our anxiety.
What is the anatomy of our vision? What is the anatomy of our psyche?
How can we get our work to the point where it lives and resonates and begins to take on its own life?
If you let it, your work will start to develop its own life and vitality. It will exist outside of us.
So often, we think about art and we want to control what is happening on the canvas or screen or sculpture. We believe that we must have more skill and ability and we compare ourselves to others. We judge our work. We erase and delete and poke at it.
We want to shape it into something that we anticipated that it would be. Too often, we don’t leave room for magic.
Life has its own plans.
When we start to create our artwork and get out of our own heads, all the training and skill slips away and the art becomes something of its own. When that happens, our job is not to control it or to be irritated when the proportions are off or something is wrong with it. Our job as artists is to help it grow.
We are there to converse with it and not dictate our commands about what we think it’s supposed to be. The only way to do that is to let everything go and to be in that moment with the art that you are creating. By letting go we create life and art.
We need to get out of its way. When we screw up the drawing or sculpture by overworking it or overthinking it; that’s on us. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can let our art develop its own life and potential if we learn to get out of its way.
Yes, we have to acquire skill and resources, but at a certain point, on the paper or canvas or screen there is enough for life and art. And more work just complicates the process. We need to find the balance in order to create. We need to trust that when we let go, something wonderful can happen and in that moment, art comes to life.