What Is Your “Lazy” Artform?

2015  Artwork Lazy Artforms article sketch

Although this is an article about learning more about yourself as an artist, I’m going to have to talk about my own creative processes quite a bit. Don’t worry, it’s not quite as pretentious as it sounds and there’s a reason for it.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I started to worry that I was going to break my habit of making at least one piece of art daily.

I don’t know, it was just one of those days where I just didn’t get round to making any art for a whole bunch of stupid reasons. And, near the end of the day, I thought “I need to paint something“.

So, I sat down with my watercolour sketchbook and thought “what can I paint quickly?” and, it took me all of ten seconds to find the answer. And, less than half an hour later, I’d painted a random coastal landscape that I’ll post here tomorrow evening. In the meantime, here’s a preview of part of it:

"A Folly (Preview)" By C. A. Brown

“A Folly (Preview)” By C. A. Brown

The fact that I was able to produce this painting so easily and so quickly made me think about the whole idea of “lazy” artforms. These are types of art than an artist can pretty much produce in their sleep and require very little mental effort to produce.

I also started to wonder whether different artists had different types of “lazy” artforms and, more importantly what exactly makes these artforms so lazy?

I mean, for me, random natural landscapes (especially coasts) are surprisingly easy and relaxing to draw and paint. I just kind of sit back and start sketching and something that resembles a landscape just kind of emerges. There’s about a 70/30 chance that it’s actually going to look good too. It’s easy and it feels almost like I’m just putting myself on “autopilot”.

At least that’s how it feels to me – in truth, it’s probably the product of hundreds of hours of practice and learning over the past couple of years. It isn’t really an innate “talent” that I just “have”, it’s something I learnt.

But, the irony is that most of this landscape drawing practice wasn’t really particularly conscious. Most of the time, I learnt the skills I needed for painting landscapes just from painting and/or drawing countless backgrounds in other pictures.

So, when it comes to making a “lazy” picture, I think something like “I’ll just paint a background, without worrying about all of the complicated stuff in the foreground.

And, because I think about it that way – and because I’ve drawn and painted literally thousands of backgrounds in the past – I don’t even have to put much effort into it.

So, what’s the point of all of this?

Well, I think that the best kinds of “lazy” artforms are the ones that we practice a lot without even noticing it too much. They’re the kinds of things that turn up in so many of our pictures that we don’t really think about them too much – except when we’re feeling uninspired and need to draw or paint something.

And, well, it’s always fun when you actually notice one of these things because it reminds you of how much you’ve learnt and it can also be a great way to reassure yourself when you’re feeling uninspired.

After all, if you’ve briefly lost confidence in your artistic abilities, then making something that looks good effortlessly and quickly is the perfect way to remind yourself that you are an artist. I mean, who else but an artist could do something like that?


Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂

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