The art of being flexible

This week (week 3) I was finally able to have my meeting about getting the space approved for my mural. We were able to agree on the location (the lower level of the library), but facilities would rather me paint on a large canvas than on the wall. Of course, as soon as this was said my heart sank. I really wanted to paint on the wall, but knowing I had to be flexible if I wanted to be able to start painting anytime soon, I agreed.

As an artist, being flexible and open to change is extremely important. Throughout the process of creating a painting there is a lot that could possibly change. Sometimes even your favorite parts of the painting have to go in the end for the benefit of the whole piece. At one point last year I had to completely repaint the face on the portrait I was working on, because even though I loved it, it wasn’t working wit h the rest of the painting. While that kind of flexibility is slightly different from being flexible in where I paint, they still stem from a very similar place.

In this article, Eric Kim touches on a lot of really important things to know as an artist. The point that most resonated with me this week from his article, however, was number 3 in his list: Regularly undo and re-do your world constructs. He talks about artists’ need to be open to change and curiosity.

Another reason why flexibility has been such an important theme this week for me is because I have decided to change the design of my mural. The design that I was working on had dancers turning into trees in a sort of Westtownian landscape (hills, paths, lakes, etc), and I was really struggling to put the dancers in that space. I really don’t like painting landscapes and trees, but I felt that those needed to be aspects in my design because the landscape is such an integral part of Westtown, for me. However, I was talking to my advisor and telling her how much I was detesting the landscape in my design, and she recommended that I just change it. She said “Well don’t work so hard to make it Westtown themed, just make it Ainsley themed.”

My advisor saying that to me really struck a chord, and I decided to change the design of my mural to a design I could be more excited about. I stuck with my theme of dancers and nature, but instead of putting my dancers in a defined space, they are in front of blocks of color and texture. In my sketch I used very bright colors for the background, but I am also considering making the colors darker in order to bring out the dancers more. In any case, going forward both with my design and in the space I have learned to be flexible, and to adapt to the situations and challenges this mural might create for me.


3 thoughts on “The art of being flexible

  1. wbdrisco

    Your point about the necessity of flexibility in art resonated with me as a writer, because when I write, I have to be incredibly open to criticism and ready to change what I may have thought was beautiful. Flexibility, aside from originality, is a necessary component to the creative mind. Do you anticipate anywhere else in the road ahead where you might need to exercise your flexibility once again?

  2. anrowshan

    I love your design so much! How long do you anticipate the actual painting process will take? Will canvas be easier or harder than using the wall?

  3. dexcoengilbert

    This design is awesome! Do you think in some of your posts you could talk about where you get inspiration for art like this? I think it is incredible that you can put that on the page (and then on a wall) but I would love to know how you come up with these ideas.


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