"Byways and Meandering" - mixed media on paper, 13" x 15". Unframed. Inquiries: email@example.com
[LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD]
"Come what may,
Follow the path
And never stray."
Just so, little girl-
So many worth exploring.
Just one would be so boring.
And look what you're ignoring...
From "Hello Little Girl", Into the Woods
Here we are, journeying through the forest, when we come to a crossroads. It may be one fork in the road, or perhaps a dozen interesting trails heading off hither and yon. What do you do? It is interesting to be an observer when others are making choices. Some people (take my husband, for example) will want vanilla ice cream every time, no matter how many exotic flavors are available. Others (like one of my sisters) will try the most interesting thing on the menu, even if there is good chance she won't like it, just to experience it once. And then there are folks who really struggle to choose at all, perhaps worried that any choice might end up being the wrong one.
It isn't much different with artists. Some of us love to paint the same thing, the same way, variations on a theme for a lifetime. There is a groove we get into, and there is no desire to leave it. Others are experimental, always using the latest medium, support or tool and have a huge repertoire of varied, exciting styles. And some feel pressured to make a choice between one style and another (galleries tell us to choose one style and stick with it - create a cohesive looking body of work) even if they aren't sure yet.
I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to choose which path to take, in the woods or in a creative pursuit. Except maybe to make sure the path is the one your heart longs for. Even if your heart wants to sit with the choice for a bit. Following our heart's desire makes us vulnerable, but not doing so is the certain path to regret.
There are a lot of voices in our lives advising us which path is best. The authors of Art & Fear tell us "the only pure communication is between you and your work." Whatever your creative pursuit is, you know the best path for you. Sit down with your work and have a little chat. The two of you will sort it out perfectly.
Just one more quote from the book, because it made me smile today:
"Art is often made in abandonment, emerging unbidden in moments of selfless rapport with the materials and ideas we care about. In such moments we leave no space for others. That's probably as it should be. Art, after all, rarely emerges from committees." Art committees. Hmmmmm.
I'm going to take this trail here on the left of the stream. I'll let you know where it leads me. :)
Jen Walls and her imaJENation