Keep it Simple

I have always been an artistic person. All types and styles of art interest me and over the years I have explored many of them. In high school, art class was my favorite. I recall one particular drawing I did during a class. It was of a lamppost that could be seen from the art room window. Such a simple drawing. Yet, decades later I can still visualize it. As an adult, I tried my hand at many crafts: quilting, dollhouse miniatures, jewelry making, faux painting and floorcloths. No matter what medium I chose my results were always similar, bold and simple. I liked what I was creating.

What I really want now is to realize a dream I abandoned many years before- fine art painting. The ability and passion are there, now I am focusing on the skills. A few years back I signed up for art classes and began painting again. All those years of simple, clean cut designs went out the window. Gone. Goodbye. Suddenly I was intent on putting as much detail as I could possibly fit into each painting. It wasn’t working. I was over painting every canvas and I couldn’t stop! More and more I was becoming frustrated with my work. In the hopes of remedying this I took another class– Paint like Hans Hofmann– at The Contemporary Austin Art School. Hofmann was a 20th century abstract expressionist painter. Painting abstract just might be the answer I was looking for. The lessons were a success. As we painted in class we added and we removed until we had eliminated the unimportant stuff. The concept seemed so simple- sometimes less is more. It was this class that taught me the importance of simplicity. Afterwards I spent some time reading about Hans Hofmann and came across a wonderful quote by him -“ The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak”. Simplify it. Leave out the unimportant. Find your message and paint only what gets that message across. One year after taking that class I am still finding my way as an artist. But with each step I remind myself to keep it simple. It’s not easy but it’s worth the struggle.

 Anne Stewart -Acrylic on canvas
Anne Stewart -American Indian

So the next time you find yourself being creative, remember this – leave out the unimportant stuff because sometimes the things we remember most are the simplest ones.

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