As an art lover as well as an artist, I enjoy looking at and seeing art that is painted in the artist's own personal style, is refreshing in its originality and is creative in either the subject matter, the way it is rendered or both. I love viewing art that is about something - or nothing at all- as long as it's done in a creative manner. I do not have to understand the art to love it; there is some abstract art that pulls you in and holds you in a completely emotional manner that is hard to describe. You just intuitively know when you've been hooked that way.
The outstanding element of such art is creativity, which could be defined as a strong use of imagination, love and skill to bring about a piece of work that speaks to the viewer, leaving an impression. If only skill and redundant subject manner are shown, then the art is lacking in creativity. Imagination must also be present.
Some of my favorite historical, creative artists are Vincent Van Gogh, Max Ernst, Jacob Lawrence, Paul Gaugin, Pablo Picasso, Aaron Douglas, Elizabeth Catlett, Gabrielle Munter and Faith Ringgold, to name a few. I love their work because it carries their imprint. It shows that they have committed to a certain style which is immediately identifiable as theirs. Often they have chosen "the road less travelled" and have earned not only respect, but a place in history because they have stylized, while simultaneously having something to say.
In my own work, I struggled many years to render art that looked "real" (illustrative) and contained subject manner spoken visually verbatim to the viewer. Fortunately, I grew to the point where I no longer wanted to paint this way. I began to ask myself, "How many times do I have to prove that I can paint skillfully?" The bigger questions are what do I have to say? And how do I want to say it?
In embarking upon a journey which has been fraught with frustration as well as joy and creativity, I learned a big lesson: The challenges of creativity are never-ending, and like many aspects of life itself, there is no point of arrival. If you are open to growth, then you continue to grow, experiencing all of the ups and downs of the art process which is most like life itself. One of the rewards of growth as an artist is that you learn to compete with yourself, not other artists, while also becoming more creative.
In writing this particular blog, I have expressed only a portion of what I intended to say. I think this might be an ongoing topic. If you are interested in reading further about how I began to bring creativity into my work, please read an online article I wrote for the international paper company Strathmore in 2009: "DISCOVERING YOUR VOICE BY EXPERIMENTING byGeorgette Jones/ http://www.strathmoreartist.com/artist/newsletter/archives