Joanne Beaule Ruggles

Unearthing Your Narrative

How do you unearth YOUR narrative?

Many individuals really don’t give the development of their creative identity much thought. The default position is that an artist simply sits in front of something and to the best of their ability – they faithfully copy it – whether still life, landscape, portrait, or figure. You can be assured that there are plenty of people who are really skilled at accurately representing subjects. Some do so from photographic reference materials (hopefully their own), and some do so sitting in front of the actual subject. But nonetheless, the overwhelming bulk of this work is created with a focus on the expression of technical skill with little recognition of the possibilities for and benefits of deviation.

As a teacher, I am often asked what is the correct way to do something. Certainly there are easier ways to do things, there are traditional ways to do things, and there are typical ways to do things…but it is dangerous to become too enamored by them. Instead of looking for the correct way, as an artist you want to be looking for the unique way to do/see/think about things.

While you are perfecting your technical skills, be thinking about expressing your own creative voice. What narrative(s) do you want to share with the world? How can you present them in a novel way? What tools, experiences, expertise do you bring to the table that are different from the typical artist? Rather than apologizing for being an outsider, I suggest you exploit the things that could make your voice unique within your art. There are an awful lot of people that can produce art that is technically respectable¬† to brilliant…but can you identify the maker?

Challenge yourself to dig deeper and find YOUR narrative.