I do not paint daily, or even weekly, yet I am an artist. Months can go by without my squeezing a paint tube or picking up the palette knife. Despite an urge to be as prolific as possible in the creations of new works, I feel that I can’t always control when the spirit moves me to create. On the flip side, there are times where you can find me in the studio for days, awake at all hours of the morning and night, working away, seemingly possessed by the need to move colors around and make an art object.
I find myself often thinking of this urge and wondering why it is at times elusive and at other times like a bright light that I can’t seem to shut off or a gushing faucet with no spigot in sight. I find when I want to create, the source of inspiration or motivation isn’t always there, or readily available to tap into, despite the want; it seems that critical need is more important than the desire to get something worthwhile accomplished. When I try to force the completion of a piece or think too hard about what it should be or what form it should take or what is pleasing, I end up creating something less than good or even passable. Most of the time, forced pieces fail miserably. Why is this?
Sometime I chalk it up to the left brain/right brain argument, believing that the more logically and critically (left brain) I approach a project the less artistic and creative (right brain) the finished work is. Other times, I feel that there is some greater cycle, whose source is unknown, that moves through artists. This force or energy is something intangible. I have heard it described often that artists feel they are a conduit for something beyond them, something that works through them. I often wonder where this spirit comes from.
In my creative sessions, it has always been about dropping all pretenses, losing that sense of criticality and ego and just creating for the sheer enjoyment of creating. Sometimes it is as simple as just getting a spot of color on the panel and starting to manipulate it. Then the journey starts: forms appear, shapes reveal themselves, the larger composition takes identity and color choices come easily without any labored thoughts. This when I feel I’m producing inspired works: when I’m free from ego, self-doubt and second-guessing, when I simply express without judgment.
Don’t get me wrong, every time I’m moved to paint I always fall back into the trap and ask myself “What am I going to paint?” That is when the right brain answers, “Nothing. Today you will paint nothing”
That is when I begin.