Coloring Outside The Lines 

When the artist’s (in any medium) vision cannot be achieved within set boundaries, and the artist dares to push past the restraints of what is considered ‘the standard’, art moves forward in its evolution. In rare instances, this evolution is so profound a new art form is created.

But exactly when does ‘coloring outside the lines’ represent genius and not merely indicate a lack of fundamental skills? The answer is, of course, how well the work of art is generally accepted by the public as well as experts in that art form.

And just what makes both of these groups accept art that steps so boldly over the line? The answer would be the perception of how much measured deliberateness the artist exercised in breaching said boundaries.

While there are people who will look at a Pollock painting and fail to see the genius behind it, others are able to see the order amid the seeming chaos – the measured deliberateness employed in scattering the paint on the canvas. Some might say, ‘anyone could do that!’ — and while it may be true that, by chance, a random person could splash paint on a canvas and have it be pleasing to some, what differentiates it from a great work of art is how well the artist understands the fundamentals of the craft (whether through education or intuitively), how much conscious intent is exerted in creating outside those fundamentals, and in the final execution of that intention.

In writing, if one’s intention is to write a commercial piece of fiction, then, by all means, follow the rules — color inside the lines. But if one is writing from a personal vision, from an artist’s deep need that cannot be achieved with anything other than through his own unique ‘voice’, then — with calculated and measured deliberateness — please venture forward and color outside the lines. You never know where it will lead.


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