I am having one of those moments in time when I cannot decide where to place my emphasis, because both painting and writing are near and dear to me, and very much alike. Creativity is visiting me now – she blew in after my trip to Singapore and has taken up residence in my studio, refusing to leave or even turn down the heat a bit. She likes it hot. She is here because she senses that I am ready for her – but be careful what you wish for because you might get it and she always brings complications disguised as challenges – that euphemistic word that implies the positive but often delivers the negative. She is tricky. She knows how to add intrigue while testing for ingenuity.
I see her as a woman, sitting there staring at me and smiling a Mona Lisa grin, all wild-haired and dressed in hot pinks and orange, eyes flashing. Sorry guys – I respect your freedom to see her any way you like, but to me she is a woman. She is a flaky wench, as I have said before – a woman of many faces, many moods. A heart-breaker, a beauty, a complicated and yet simply divine girl/woman who arrives in a different costume for every day of the week. She can be pouty, stubborn, insistent and bossy but she is also charming, enigmatic and smart. She kills me with her power – I am powerless in her presence. She demands my attention. I drop everything for creativity. Sometimes it is worth it and other times she lets me down….she deserts me….she leaves me in midstream of an idea and does not return for months. And when she does show her face again, enticing me back into her spell, she laughs at me, wondering why I missed her so much and what the fuss of her absence was all about, telling me I need to learn to “wing it” without her constant attention. Easier said than done. She knows how hard it is to wing it.
Sometimes she comes baring gifts so abundant that I am on overload. She offers ideas rapid-fire, challenging me to do them all at once or choose one, any single one, and do it to the absolute best of my ability, at the risk of losing all the others. This is her Sophie’s Choice – choose. I cannot choose one at the exclusion and even death of the others, and therein lies the rub. How come ideas come in clusters and the days are only 24 hours long? Creativity knows how impossible her requests can be. She does not care. She smiles. She waits to see what you will do.
I want to paint; I want to write. The two are similar in their challenges and their triumphs. I ought to be able to do them both, giving each a designated time of day, you would think. But they spill over, they melt out of their allotted hours, they almost become one and the same. I drift from computer onto easel and back to computer again. They each require constant practice, regular attention and loving support. A magnetic composition/plot that pulls in the viewer/reader. A path of light & color/unfolding story for the viewer/reader to follow – lights and darks, embellishment of certain areas/characters, an exciting punch of extraordinary interest preceded and surrounded by some interesting places for your mind to travel while headed in the direction of the focal point/main event. The sensuality of color description, the journey of your mind as you view/read, the tension created for your mind’s eye, the surprise discovery of the message/plot, and the final conclusion – writing or painting? They are about the same thought process for me.
This late fall day, week, month, year, there is a war in my studio to see who wins – the visual artist or the writer. I am a helpless victim of creativity. Happy to have such a problem but wary of the battle.