For the past few days, I’ve been feeling that I need to break out of a myopic rut. No doubt that it’s smart to draw or paint on standard-sized paper so that the pieces can be easily matted and framed, but staying standard is staying standard and I need to cut loose. Push myself. Stretch.

I just googled what people have to say about stretching one’s skills and talents and the entire first page was all about leadership, business management and grabbing onto subprime mortgages while they’re hot. Not what I was looking for, but then there was this:  getting specific in your own mind about exactly which abilities you want to improve, and how, will turbocharge the results. But the main thing is continually trying things you can’t quite do. This is what makes you better. And doing it for a long time is what makes you great.

Red Fruit, digital, intuitive


What I want is to paint – literally and figuratively– on a bigger canvas. Bigger than standard, expensive as shit to contain or frame. (I was about to write, “but I don’t have to frame these ‘experiments’”) but that is not exactly my stretching voice; it’s what my fellow coaches call the saboteur voice.

My stretching voice. My literal stretching image is something like this: Put some kind of canvas up on a wall and have to reach to get to the top. (Saboteur: “too expensive”; me: “screw you, saboteur.”) (Saboteur: “you’ll need a bigger studio so you can get perspective”; me: “I’ll figure it out.”) Something that gets me away from small sheets of paper, that gets me away from small strokes, small areas of color, shortsighted vision.

My friend, Mariana – the most creative woman I know – talks about masses of color in a painting, the way rivers of color connect the here and there in a piece, the logicfeeling spaces created by swaths of light and dark, warm and cool. It’s obvious and my moments (seconds/minutes/days/months) of myopia make the prospect intimidating: how much? where? when?

If your goal is technical correctness, you will probably paint tightly. Set goals such as “paint quality”, “the effect of light”, “exciting color and shape organization” to allow for a more creative approach. It’s not about making it correct . . . but about making it interesting

 Think first, do a bit of planning, then just paint. Stop thinking; just paint. Just paint.

-- Debra