Keeping It Alive: Moving Past Repetition In Your Art

Keeping It Alive: Moving Past Repetition In Your Art

Have you ever had the experience of creating a painting you love only to be afraid that you won’t be able to create a painting like that again? That it’ll be a one hit wonder?

I remember years ago painting oil landscapes on panel at the Palo Alto baylands. As I became increasingly facile in my art, my fear grew exponentially that my next painting session would deliver disappointing results, that I’d somehow lose the magic- never to regain it. 

The paradox is that creating paintings that wow us may end up scaring us.

And so we fall back on recreating what’s worked before. And we may do this for awhile but the problem is that we eventually get bored. We know that working from a formula is not what being an artist is about.

Being an artist is about stepping into the unknown, into the terra incognita of creation. 

What you’re afraid of is where the juice is.

Moving past repetition in art is an ongoing challenge. We tend to repeat what works, yet in order to create art that’s astonishing and alive, we must continually evolve our art.

This week we discuss the topic of repeating oneself as an artist. I think this is an issue we deal with throughout our life cycle of being an artist.

This often shows up when we create a work that we like, and so we tend to create another variation on that painting that is similar. We can get caught in a rut where we repeat ourselves in our paintings.

We want is to create something radical, something dangerous-yet we’re afraid.

I’ve faced this issue throughout my career as an artist and I’ve noticed that there are ways to break through this tendency of repetition.

Watch the video above, scroll down and let me know what you think. How do you move beyond repeating yourself in your art?

Much gratitude from my studio to yours.


P.S. Leave a comment for me below and tell me how you deal with this issue of repetition.

Originally published at Nancy Hillis.