Better Safe than Sorry
is not always true
When creating art, you can take one of two roads:
- the safe, but dull road, or
- the exciting, challenging, and somewhat risky road.
For years, I chose the former, and my paintings were, in a word, dull.
Safe and dull comprises many things
- traditional subjects in the traditional manner
- trying for photographic accuracy
- capturing the scene as it is--and not as it should be
- the need to prove to yourself that you are a good artist (whatever that means)
- even worse, the need to prove to others that you're a good artist
These are all points of view, or approaches to your art. They have nothing to do with actual technique. Your technique is a slave to your thinking. If you think "safe and dull," you'll get it. With that kind of thinking, no amount of talent, ability, and technique can save you.
If you're afraid to take chances and make some changes, your art will reflect your fear, and you'll get the same painting that's been done by millions of artists for thousands of years. You can usually find examples at thrift stores and yard sales.
Take a chance--now!
As an artist, you should resolve to do something entirely different--something you've never done before. If you fail miserably, so what? At least you went down trying, and your life will have been a bit more exciting. But you'll also learn something from your experience, and your art will improve.
Robert Frost and risk taking
The poem in the sidebar may reflect the poet Robert Frost's individualism--his willingness to take a chance. But critic Lawrence Thompson* says it may be about Frost's hesitant walking partner who always wondered about what would have happened if they had chosen a different path.
Either way, it's about adventure and about taking chances. That's the road less traveled. Try it.
Culture is where you find it
These two books are cheap, cheap, cheap. One is a book of great American poems, and the other is a book of poems by Robert Frost. Who says you can't buy culture?
*Better safe than sorry, meaning: it is wiser to take precautions---even if they seem unnecessary or excessive---than to risk disaster. This proverb was first recorded in 1837, in Samuel Lover's novel Rory O'Moore.
**Lawrence Thompson was the official biographer of Robert Frost.copyright James Stephens
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