You will recall that recently I took a look at the work of artist Cy Twombly and suggested ways he could encourage us to steal from him. I recently stumbled across another artist whose work I think presents an interesting lesson in STEALING FROM THE BEST: Agnes Martin.
Frankly, I had never heard of Martin nor been aware of her work, but like Twombly she presents us with deceptively simple canvases that nonetheless are complex designs which incorporate ACCIDENT and human imprecision to eliminate any pretense of perfection.
Here's the lesson: don't copy. Steal.
Here's how to do that: Look at Martin's work. Pick a painting or a drawing. Examine it. Reverse engineer it: how did she actually draw/paint/design that?
Now open your sketchbook and do that thing. Don't copy Martin's painting/drawing. Steal her technique to explore her technique in your sketchbook.
Don't worry about getting it "right." Do it, then see where it leads you. Start to find the rhythm that appeals to you. GESTALT the heck out of it: what's missing? What would make more sense in the next SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION?
Keep doing it. Ignore Martin. Now it's yours.
The point of STEALING FROM THE BEST is to expand your own creative toolset by adopting and adapting what others have done.
Because that's what they did.
UPDATE: If you'd like to see more of Martin's work, and even buy some, check out Artsy's page.