Creativity Corner

Is there creative life after technical art training?

I am a painter that has had to balance both art training and process-only painting. At times, it has seemed that these two seemingly opposite paths could not co-exist within me, and blending the two has been a dance of sensitive focus that has been going on within me for years.

The danger of my technical training is that I can fall into its seductive clutch of fail safe technique or be influenced by what others will be most likely to buy. The danger of painting purely for my inner process is that I will not be able to make a living from my process!


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We can use the tools that we have acquired, in service to the seeker of truth within. This is an on going balancing act, and I know this can only happen over time, but it is primarily attitude and where I place my attention while painting. My artistic ego can so easily be seduced by technique because of a lack of security in my own creativity, fear of the unknown in myself, or the need to make money.

We can be trained in technique, but along the way, we have to abandon allegiance to technique in order to ride the current of our own fluid and ever changing voice. And if we want to follow our creative voice wherever it may lead us, we must be prepared to not be able to make a living at it. I am reminded of the famous poet Yeats who was a bank teller for 30 years of his life.

We can take all that we are and everything we have been given in service to the demanding inner muse, the wild, unpredictable, intuitive genius within. In fact, this is all we can ever do as creative builders of form, in any venue.

We take what we have been given or have acquired by the forces in our lives, and create out of it, or through it, an expression of our most inner being, untouched by technique. This takes fearlessness and courage to step out into the utter unknown, an attitude of non attachment to the technical tools, a deep trust and love of ones fundamental self and in the unfailing intelligence of the creative process. •

Next: What is Creativity and How Do We Access It?

©2005 Maria Mikhailas. All rights reserved.

About Maria Mikhailas

Maria MikhailasMaria Mikhailas apprenticed for 10 years with Taos mystic painter Herman Rednick, studied with San Francisco sculptor Harriet Moore, and completed Michele Cassou and Stewart Cupley's 3-year Teacher Training Program in process painting. More


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Creativity: Balancing Training and Process


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