Make everything count. Every blot of ink, each note and phrase – put your whole damn heart in there!

Ways to accomplish this:

  • Practice the difficult bits first. When you have confidence you have power.
    • Before you hit the main composition with your best shot, take time to simply observe and review what you’d find to be the most challenging aspect of your piece. Getting the difficult bits chopped down to easier chunks will help you to focus your mind. In theory, you should be able to work more intently this way. Bonus: Each personal achievement level you gain will imbue your art with this power.
  • Confront your emotions. Your best work is the one with tangible feeling.
    • Even if you see a crystal clear picture of the finished work in your head, keep the emotion of it at the forefront of your mind.
    • Then, most importantly – for difficult emotions such as despair, anger, and the like – objectify the feeling your trying to portray. This is not to say you should disregard your feelings (We are inextricably linked to our work, after all) but rather shift your focus toward the means with which you will portray them to your audience. In this way we can control the pace of our work with rational and focused intent; avoiding the irrational nature of extreme emotions so we don’t lose control of our craft. You know, the time spent, the sacrifices, all that. Do not sacrifice your experience on the table of desire. Keep sharp. Keep yourself humble but well-groomed.
    • Each element within the context of your composition can be charged with emotion(s) through various processes and devices. For example:
      • quick, sharp lines and shapes for anger, anxiety, etc.
      • Textured elements to suggest actual or implied feeling. Can be used to add focus and overall cohesion in a work.
      • Swooping light fabrics for softness, intimacy, etc.

Expression is meaningless without intent. Some would probably argue further that expression is impossible without a motif. It can be beautiful, exciting, and experimental. But the interpretation of your work may suffer if your expression is all explosion with no apparent beginning or endpoint. That could be your goal, and I’m down with some arty chaos sometimes. However, your primary goal in art should be to express your life’s experience. Show yourself to your work and your work will express your self to the world.

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