The (Life) Lessons of Art

December 31, 2011

My creative practice has taught me more than a few invaluable lessons through the years.  Lessons acquired through the process of expression inform daily life.  Once the lessons of art are internalized, key principles become relevant in contexts which are independent of art, as well.
I’ve written about lessons before, such as the ability to See Anew or Explore Multiple Angles.  And I’ll be writing about others in the future, no doubt!  But for now…

  1. Edit, Edit, Edit: Communicating an idea can be messy stuff. With any creative process, a “refined” idea is the result of a once “fuzzy” idea that has been articulated more fully.  Through the editing process extraneous elements fall away, allowing the crux of the idea to become more clear.  Early drafts and studies serve as evidence that this takes place.  As a result, this universal transition from “fuzzy” to “refined” is made more apparent.
  1. Experience Dynamic Interaction: An important part of my process is allowing a painting or drawing to evolve in an organic way. Each step builds on the steps before, the result of dynamic interaction between my aesthetic judgment and the marks left on the page.  In many ways this practice of dynamic interaction that is integral to painting serves as a metaphor.  A similar type of active engagement helps us to thrive in the world; dynamic interaction with our surroundings develops qualitative reasoning skills.  The act of painting makes me more cognizant of this process in all contexts.
  1. Embrace Mistakes: “Happy Accident” is a phrase that describes those fortuitous moments that sometimes shape the process.  It’s not uncommon for an artist to experience a mistake that ends up improving their work in some way.   Although the cause of the change was unintentional, the effect of  the mistake sometimes leads to an outcome that is more preferable.  The happy accident is about discovery, at its best.  When we persist through a mistake  we learn that unforeseen obstacles do not need to deter our progress.  And, in this way, we experience that a mindset of flexibility and adaptability often produces the most satisfying end.

© 2011 Kira Campo

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