This week’s calligraphy challenge was to only use one color (and black and white) plus  one shape. We were asked to practice artistic restraint. I chose red and a great quote from Bill Blass. I used watercolor paper to create textures of the red using different techniques. I cut them up and highlighted the edge using Sumi ink, then created a grouping to show the various levels of red. I glued them into my notebook and wrote the quote using a Comic .7 and .05.

Restraint is not a word one usually hears in relation to creating art. We usually hear phrases like out of the box, innovative, dynamic and avant garde. To willingly ask people to only use one color is a fun way to force those who live in a creative world to take their creativity to a new level. It forces them to slice away the expected ideas and only use the ones they really want to present. It’s kind of like people only wearing one color of clothing. It eliminates the distractions and forces them to present themselves in inventive ways because now their clothes are nothing special. Limitations forces creativity along a new path.

Think of the last time you had limited resources. When you only had one tool or no tools or a limited budget to get something accomplished. You had to get creative, get innovative, get jiggy with it in order to solve the dilemma. And the sheer joy you experienced when you reached the end was euphoric. With so much at our disposal from anywhere in the world it has become too easy to do it and forget the fun of being inventive. When the options are few creativity and ideas can come alive if we let them. So maybe today you need to limit your options instead of expanding them. Give yourself only one thing and see what you can do with it. We are only limited by our own ability and willingness to try.

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