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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rearranging the Crayons

Rearranging the crayons is what I do when I am seeking the Zone. I refill my palette, I clean all my brushes, I fondle the lovely tools of my trade. The simple act of touching my tools prepares me to be open to my creativity. My fingers remember making art, and that tactile memory triggers the creative process.

Have you ever rearranged your palette? Having the colors in the right places can be important, but sometimes we get stuck because we see the colors in the same old places, rubbing shoulders with the same old friends. Randomizing your palette can make you see new color families.

Some artists limit their palettes to three or four colors. This is usually based on color theory. What if you created your own new theory? I once did an impromptu portrait using three Crayola crayons in a restaurant which used brown wrapping paper as tablecloths, and which had crayons on the table for the use of children to draw while waiting for their meal. Well, I am a child, so I took the three crayons, and began to draw. But they were not colors which I would normally choose to make a portrait. They were scarlet red, violet purple and inchworm green. As I drew, something changed in my brain.

It was amazing. I did things in that drawing that I had never done before. And when I was finished, the portrait was possibly the most accurate capture of another person which I had ever achieved. Fortunately, it was the waitress, who comped my meal in exchange for her portrait. But that day I received something better than a free dinner...I turned on a part of my brain which has served me well ever since. Here's to rearranging the crayons!

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