Thursday, May 22, 2014

Creativity - Choosing Between Yours And Mine

A friend of my wives give her some old circa 1990's magazine that she thought I would enjoy. One of the first articles I came across was titled "Creativity." It was a written by Nanette Hilton, a teacher herself, who was encouraging readers to create their own designs. "Somewhere inside you are ideas, pictures and dreams just waiting to be expressed. Create your own designs!"

This struck me because that is what I have done and said for years now. We should go to classes to learn techniques, use new products and see what the trends are but we should create our own things.

Have missed painting conventions for two years now, I was ready and found it wonderful to finally get to go to one. As readers of this blog you know I have become increasingly infatuated with Rosemaling, a Norwegian craft painting technique that was popular in 17th & 18th centuries around Telemark, Norway. Each village around there developed twists and motifs of their own. However, by the mid 1800's it fell into disfavor and was briefly resurrected in the United States carried by immigrants from Norway. It didn't regain much popularity here until the early 1900's mainly due to an artist who single-handedly resurrected the style in Wisconsin.

"Bean Pot" taught by Gayle Oram
I  missed the early registration for the Society of Decorative Painters Convention but was able to sign up for two of Gayle's Oram's classes. When we were beginning to trace her design, in the second of my two classes with her, on the primed beam pot she challenged us to freehand the design, make it our "own." I was game and did my "C's" and "S's" with abandon. However, when I began to add the rest of the elements I realized I was lost. How could I get her elements on what I had started as my own? I did put her design on the top.

As we began to put the colors on I quickly became lost and disoriented. I was not alone. During the first break I put everything away and went up to her and told her I was going. I was clearly not ready for this class. I thanked her and she immediately came over, looked at what I had done, checked out several others and stopped the pot painting and gave us all basics on what Rosemaling was all about.

I then worked on the top with the design she gave us and then incorporated as many of her motifs on my own design. It was at this point that I realized you can't mix the too. She clearly had a design and goal in mind. No different than when I create my own. Trying to combine though is tough and so, I did the bottom as I would do it, using the ideas I already knew, borrowed what I could and went on to paint the pot. As I told my partners unless someone actually saw a photo of the original pot, they would never know. I used the same colors, Rosemaling technique top and bottom, they were very different anyway and made good progress on the wonderful pot. I think it would be the "perfect" jelly bean pot, don't you think? It is wood so should last for years with  no fear of it breaking in California earthquakes!

Its not done, one of my bugaboos of the convention. There is still a Norwegian slogan that goes around the lid but I can do that here at home and a little more detail to add. However, the question is, is this my pot or someone else's or is this a hybrid, a work of two artists?

BE CREATIVE! Use what you learn and then doodle your way to your own design. Come on in. The water is fine and you will be far more proud of what you created than what you copied. Trust me I know.

Please visit for wonderful crafts, birdhouses and photography available in all price ranges. Also, I have opened a new fine art store at Stop on by! Paintings ARE your very own vision of the world.

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