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Thursday, May 16, 2013

"This Might Not Work...."

"Evening - Vermilion Lakes" - oil on linen - 9x12"
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Listened to a great interview with the brilliant and innovative Seth Godin recently. In it he talks about a liberating way to approach ideas or projects that he finds intimidating. He comes from the place of "This might not work."

It struck me that there really couldn't be a better way to approach painting. If you decide at the beginning that having it 'not turn out' is totally okay - you swing the door wide open to boldness, curiosity, exploration and a willingness to keep dancing with uncertainty all the way to the end. I've been playing with this a lot lately - it's an interesting way to engage with a painting.

The above painting is a demo I did last week for a group of 50 artists at Swinton's Art in Calgary. Painting in front of a group has a unique kind of pressure, and some whispering voices of self doubt showed up just as I was getting started. And then I remembered Seth's wisdom. Hmmm, this might not work. What if that's cool. What if I simply say my power word (Shazam!) and let the brushstrokes land where they may....

Poof! Just like that, stress gone - game on. Magic!

This is my current formula for fun in the studio, wanted to share it in case any of you were looking for a new secret weapon. :-)

Upcoming Workshops

I have a couple of workshops coming up in the next short while. I will be teaching a 5 day portrait workshop in my Canmore studio at the end of June - details here. And I will be out in Vancouver to teach a 3 day Daily Painting workshop at the end of May.

A Chat with Leslie Saeta on Artists Helping Artists

In April I sat down for an hour with Leslie on her blog talk radio show to discuss "Staying Positive About Your Art". We touched on all kinds of great ways to stay focused and in motion when challenges show up in your art world. You can listen to the talk here.


  1. I like the idea, Liz, and more importantly the results! Gorgeous!

  2. Nice work Liz! Sounds like you have found an avenue to the "zone" where nothing matters but the connection between the painting and the artist.

  3. It's kind of a metaphor for an interesting life too!

    1. So true Karen - it's really the only way to live into everything you're capable of.

  4. I'm listening to that very episode right now!! How funny! I love the ideas you and Leslie are suggesting. Its so motivating. And I love the idea of trying out something that "might not work" in the studio (or in front of a small audience) Self doubt is one of the biggest enemies of creativity! Love your blog and your art.

  5. Hello Liz, I just came across your blog and I want to comment on how much information you share. You are very generous. I appreciate your attitude and your approach to painting.

  6. "This might not work, but then might!" That's the excitement of painting! Thanks for sharing your work and thoughts too.

  7. Wow. Just, wow. Your work is jaw-dropping. Particularly love the 'urban landscapes'. Looking forward to more posts. Thanks!