Do you have a creative palette? What does it consist of? What makes your work different from everyone else? What makes you who you are as an artist? What makes your artistic vision / voice extraordinary, unique? What ingredients do you play with? What actually goes into your work? Where does your art come from? Do you research, test, subject yourself to trial and error? Are you afraid to make mistakes? Do you break rules, cross lines, push boundaries, venture into uncharted territories? Do you follow trends, always on the heels of what is “in”? Are you sheep or shepherd? Do you understand your process? Do you even have a process?
These are not rhetorical questions. If you understand and identify how you actually work, then and only then, can you change your methodology. We must learn ourselves, who we are as an artist, and how we creatively function. Exactly what and how do we do what we do that we call our art? If you don’t have a creative palette, you have no place to begin, you might not have anything to put into the middle, and you are going to have an extremely difficult time finding an end, a creative solution to your art. If we have a bit of a handle on how we approach things, then we can make a decision to go to another place, a different challenge, a new approach. If you don’t have a clue, then you don’t have a palette.
If you are always flying by the seat of your pants, if you are always trying to pull your art out of thin air – think about it. What are you relying on? Not your experience, dedication, persistence, or education; you are relying on chance. Chance will find some art, but even chance favors the prepared mind. An artist must have a personal, creative palette built over time, through tears, frustration, mistakes, failures, and successes. It becomes who we are and defines our persona as artists. We must wear it out, exhaust it, and then construct a new one … or at least flip it over and try the other side.