Lessons Learned From My Art Fast

Today marks one week of not looking at other people’s art.*

It has been both harder and easier than I thought. If I didn’t think about art, it was easy to go whole days without looking. But it was also harder when you had to remind yourself that you couldn’t read your favorite art blog, or couldn’t get on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, or any other platform where you might accidentally see art.

But what did I learn from the art fast? Did I achieve my goal?

The first lesson is that a week is not long enough to reconnect with your own muse. I can still conjure up an image in my mind of paintings I’ve seen, so when I run into a problem it’s still too easy to look for solutions outside of my own path. I also wonder if my muse is waiting to see how committed I am to following its guidance.

The second lesson is, if you don’t work enough on your own art, the art fast is a waste of time. I sketched and jotted down ideas this week but I didn’t actually focus on creating any specific artwork. I feel I could have gotten more out of it if I had set a schedule to draw or paint something a little more finished.

So, did I reach my goal? No, I don’t feel I have been able to completely untangle my path from all the other ones out there, but I have a feeling that if I fast a little longer, and more often, my path will shine so bright that I will wonder how I ever lost it.


* Or mostly not looking at art. I had one more slip up when I read an article that linked to an artist’s portfolio, but I caught myself after looking at only a few paintings.

Fasting From Art: Update

It’s been almost three days since I’ve started my art fast.

I say almost because while I was looking up the URL’s in my last post there happened to be some pictures of paintings that caught my eye and before I knew it I was wandering off to enjoy the goodies.

And last night I was working through a composition and thought I would just go look at one of my art books to see how other artists handled it. Luckily I had misplaced the book I wanted and had enough time to remember my art fast.

As you can tell, I am finding it harder than I thought to not look at art. I am realizing how much art is a part of my daily life, and how art helps calm me down when I am agitated, or helps lift my mood.

And I am also wondering if art has become a bit of a crutch when it comes to finding my way out of my own artistic conundrums.

Fasting From Art

I’ve decided to go on an art fast.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about ever since I read an interview with Jeremy Geddes where he stated that he doesn’t look at other people’s art anymore as he thinks it influences him or he might find that his ideas have already been done.

Recently this idea was reinforced by the article Muddying the Waters: Let the River Flow by Luann Udell where she had a conversation with an unnamed artist who said a similar thing.

For me, the pull to follow the style and ideas of other artist’s work is stronger than usual right now. It has taken me to the point where it is hard for me to separate my path from others.

So, I have decided to experiment by not looking at any visual art, other than my own, for the next week.

The goal is to help me realign, or become more tuned in to my own muse again.

And who knows, it might become something I do all the time.

Jeremy Geddes website.
Muddying the Waters: Let the River Flow

Klaxon: New Painting by Brady Allen

I’ve never been in an emergency where the slow waxing and waning of the deafening siren was needed, but still the sound and its unmistakable meaning are embedded in my subconscious. Ethereal experiences and their concrete memories bubble to the surface of my mind. They are the substance of some sort of pool of ideas, an accumulation of experience that is both real and not real. Klaxon, was one of those paintings where the name came to me first, but quick on its heels came the flash of an image.

Klaxon 36x48 oil painting by Brady Allen
Klaxon 36×48 oil painting by Brady Allen

Originally the girl was silent. She was ignoring the warning from the spray painted alarm, but eventually she started to scream. The meaning of it all? I thought I knew with that flash, but then it went away. While I paint, meaning becomes the baseline from a song playing in the apartment next door. You know it’s there, but you can’t put a name to the song. When the painting is finished sometimes it comes back, and you wonder why you couldn’t recognize the song earlier, but other times the meaning decides to keep its own company.