As an art teacher, one of my intentions of greatest importance is to make students aware of the unlimited possibilities in choosing their art process. And in my own art making I’ve discovered the most logical starting point is a “name it and claim it” objectivity that guides and even energizes any process. If I stay true to my initial objective, I am free from confusing outcomes.
To begin an artwork with the question, “why am I doing this?” provides me clarity from the first step. If my “why” is to simply play or experiment or learn about a particular medium, then by remaining true to that reason I am free from distraction or self-imposed pressures of such thoughts as, “hey… maybe this piece will sell if only I …”
If my “why” is instead to express a desired emotion or message then the question becomes “what am I wanting to convey?” Answering this question will then present additional options: art elements & principles that will support the intended message or incite the intended emotional response. An example of this could be the desire to create a peaceful mood therefore choosing a predominately cool palette, horizontal format, medium sized canvas, and flowing composition.
Furthermore, if my objective (my “why”) is because of a shear visceral motivation, which may also more naturally combine with a product-driven, sales-driven result, then a more selective set of considerations may be presented. For instance, I’ve observed striking color schemes in the natural world and felt motivated to paint them, while also recognizing how the choice of size, format, color and subject matter may lend itself to a buyer’s market.
when thinking about what to do next, ask why, allow the reasons to guide you, and all of the artistic process possibilities will become more and more apparent.