Denver Botanic Gardens Chihuly Glass Exhibit, last week – http://www.chihuly.com and www.botanicgardens.org
It is almost the 4th of July and for me that sort of means that the summer is half over. For others it means that the summer is officially rolling along, at its very height of enjoyment. No, I have nothing new to report about the YLC – the Year Long Canvas – but I have a terrific quote from a gifted and successful artist friend of mine named Jane Jones, sent to me as a comment about my previous blog. Jane teaches at the Denver Art Students League – http://www.asld.org – and she paints like an Old Master, so she knows whereof she speaks. Plus she is wise, funny as hell and inspiring with her witticisms about life – she doesn’t allow much to slow her down.
Visit her beautiful, floral still-life art at http://www.janejonesartist.com
“I have some paintings that took a year….one month to paint, and 11 months in time out! And then about 10 minutes to finish them. Just because you aren’t painting on it, doesn’t mean you aren’t “working” on it! I’m working on about 5 paintings and haven’t picked up a brush yet! But the process will show when I get them started…and a couple might not ever get started…but they got worked on to their completion before I ever spent anything but time on them….now is that efficient or what!”
Yes I have done that too, but hearing it from another person who understands the process carries much more clout. She is person to whom I really listen.
A painting is first and foremost, at its very conception, an ambiguous, indistinct creative vision that ebbs and flows, blurs and clears, adds and subtracts, changes color, alters composition, thrills and disappoints, darting in and out of your consciousness as it slowly wakes you up with its possibility ( but sometimes its vision comes in a lightening-fast flash – as in a CREATIVE EPIPHANY – explained further in my book).
This vision incubates in your mind. It cooks. It simmers. It brews. The amount of time that this pre-painting process takes is purely individual. On a good day, I can do all that in an afternoon if I am in the flow. Or it might take months before you or I dare to pick up a brush or a palette knife and attempt to capture on canvas or paper whatever it is that we have been birthing. I KNOW – I am mixing my metaphors here – but it is a both a birthing process and a cooking of sorts, to me anyway. Creativity is like that – all things to all people is what it is. Every single person who is creative has his/her own unique foreplay – their own ritual of preparation before or after conception. It is a “dance by the light of the moon” kind of thing – mysterious, magical and sensual. That is what defines the concept for me.
If the painting is a good one, it matters not how long you spent on the incubation or the birthing of the painting. The fast and furious work is often better and more free-spirited than the one you labored over for weeks or months – that is why I am having such a “thing” about the YLC – I am accustomed to working fast, filling the room with the inspired energy I feel and flying by the seat of my pants without over-thinking and over-analyzing and yes, even over-agonizing about each stroke. This YLC is counter-intuitive for me – but then perhaps that is one of the lessons to be learned from it.
Now I must go and watch the USA play Belgium in the World Cup while the back of my mind mulls over the next new painting I am going to start later today. I can do both, you see, and then find even more answers and ideas in a dream when I go to sleep tonight – because it is always there, this creativity thing, 24/7 every single minute all the time. It is the gift that keeps on giving, right Jane?
BOOK – The Creative Epiphany – Gifted Minds, Grand Realizations by Jo Ann Brown-Scott