My mind on paper – thoughts on creating new work…

I’ve always found creativity has stages that can throw you into chaos or calm. Each stage can be positive or negative depending on the circumstances or your point of view. For instance…you have a positive run of exhibtions, events and sales. This has usually been supported by months of scurrying around gathering materials, producing art, framing, costing, finding suppliers – you get the gist. It’s a positive stage filled with ambition and direction. Or it’s a negative stage filled with decisions and speed and escaping time. It depends how it feels and what else you may have going on in your life at the time, but it’s filled with energy and ideas.

Then comes the slump. It’s over. The ideas have been tried and tested. The work is complete and out there.  Now the energy bubble has burst. The chocolate has melted. The suitcase is empty. Call it what you will but the get up and go and got up and gone. You’ll never have another good idea ever again. Obviously, this is bad. This is negative. This is not a good place to be. Or it’s a great place to be. You’ve had a run of wonderful ideas and produced finished pieces of artwork. You’ve added more examples in your portfolio and have quality work for sale. The suitcase is empty and ready to be filled again. And you will do it again. You can do it again.

The slump is a necessary evil, I feel. Yes, it can be a bit of a scary head-place to be. And yes, a little bit of panic can creep in from the shoes upwards if we’re not careful. But without it we’d be in ‘create’ mode all the time. That’s not good! Imagine – always at it full throttle! At anything full throttle all the time isn’t good. We need ‘scary slump-time’. We need to allow ourselves time to rest and re-charge. It isn’t being lazy or un-productive, it’s part of what we do. It’s part of the process. We need to go away and not do it for a while. Potter. Let things percolate.

Suddenly, when we’re not thinking about it, little ideas start to generate. Things we’ve taken an interest in or have simply noticed in passing, start to resonate and grow so thoughts get mingled with feelings. Considerations and curiosity increase and we start to take photos, tinker with pencils, paint, glue paper – whatever. We have no idea where we’re going we just follow it along. As we go, stronger ideas develop and tally-ho! We’re off again. An idea.

So, after my recent ‘busy period’ and my ‘slump’ and my ‘percolating’, I now find ideas creeping in my head. Try as I might I can’t dismiss them so there has to be a reason. I’m curious, so I’ll follow the thoughts and see where they take me.  Brave I know! I may face failure or ridicule. It may all turn out to be nothing and I’m left red faced trying to explain what went wrong. My ‘theme’ may seem trivial – even comical, you could laugh at me! Alternatively, you may identify with my subject. It may remind you of things and make you re-call stories of your own? Chaos/calm – positive/negative – see what I mean?

My theme?  I hear you ask – Tea-pots. Yes I know, it’s odd.  It surprised me too but I can’t stop thinking about them. Their significance, their design, their presence. They’re fascinating me and I just want to draw them. Where I’m going I don’t quite know. How the finished articles will look, I have no idea. I’m on a mission and I’ll follow it until it bores me or I feel I’ve exhausted it.

Watch this space?…

My mind on paper – thoughts on creating abstract art

I’ve been doing a lot of abstract work lately as I find the process of letting my thoughts and feelings randomly unfold on the paper really liberating. I’m always amazed at where the marks come from and how they end up making sense.

I say ‘end up’ because there’s always that dodgy bit in the middle that scares the pants off me. I find myself thinking that all that work, all that time and all that money on materials is sadly heading straight for the bin.  Somehow though, it doesn’t (not always anyway). Somehow, something happens and I push through that stage to reach an end point. That in itself is something of a mystery.  How do I know I’ve ‘got there’ if I didn’t know where I was going? How do I know it’s finished if I didn’t know what my intention was in the first place? But there it is, right in front of me and I know I don’t want to do anything else to it. Strangely, I do know it’s finished. I know I’m satisfied with what I’ve done and to my critic’s surprise I even know when it’s the wrong way up!

When I finally get round to mounting it and it turns from a fragment of my imagination into a product, I’m suddenly justified. Contrary to popular belief, I do have a proper job! I am capable and I’m not just an ‘arty, farty type’. Hoorah!

Here’s an example of one finished piece that magically came together and vindicated my existence.

 

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