I was reading an article about Robert Rauschenberg in last month’s Art in America (Sept issue page 38) and it left a lasting impression. Charles Stuckey, who wrote the article, mentions …”that he made something odd and extraordinary nearly every day for 60 years” and that “Rauschenberg had fun.”

Now here’s my type of guy! I remembered it slightly differently, and it became my motto for the week….”make something different every day and have fun”. Well, OK, just a slight rewrite. But it really gave me a new boost in my studio work.

When I got to my studio each day last week, I gave myself as a first task to do something different. It took the pressure off of finishing my current work for a bit, and I got to take a creative break. I definitely had fun coming up with new things. I painted some bold shapes over a very languid peaceful seascape that was boring me. I drew on top of gold leaf panels, then poured transparent paint over them.

Not all the experiments resulted in finished work, or images I like, but it made a difference in my attitude and what I painted after that. I highly recommend trying this to see if you also will surprise yourself. As an idea, try this as a first activity of the day for a few days.

This week I am heading up to Ghost Ranch, Georgia O’Keeffe’s old hang out in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The fall leaves are still brilliant, and I am going to try something different.

Instead of my usual plein air (outdoor landscape painting) gear of oil pastels and small sketch pad, I am bringing along the new slow drying acrylic paints by Golden, called Open Acrylic. They have a long open time, staying wet for over 24 hours. Here in DRY New Mexico under the hot outdoor sun I am guessing I’ll have a few hours instead. But, hey, thanks to advice from Robert – its something DIFFERENT!