Over the weekend it was girls’ night out. We started talking about this blog and about art. My friends were really intrigued by the artists’ creative process and kept asking me how this works for me. We ended up having such a good discussion that I thought I’d share it with you.
For me the creative process has two distinct stages. First comes inspiration and then execution. It sounds so simple. It sounds like there is creative passion in the first and then a mechanical process by which I put this emotion into action. Truth be told passion, burning desire goes through the entire process for me. Many times it doesn’t even end when I think I’m done with the piece, because then comes the question, am I really done?
I am convinced that inspiration is key when it comes to the creative process. It must be present, otherwise the end result will be flat and lifeless. When inspiration grabs you it incites an obsession. An obsession to show the world what has shaken your very core and if you do a good job, to awaken similar feelings in the onlooker.
However, that inspiration does not have a limit. It can stem from the subject, the technique, for one specific mood or color. Sometimes it is a cloud in the sky, the color of a poppy or the smell of a madeleine. Regardless, it is very personal and thus an artist becomes very vulnerable to the outside world.
I promised to a friend of mine that I’d paint something for her. For weeks I was thinking of what to paint when it hit me that it was not an object, rather an attitude I wanted to paint. I wanted to make a painting that would transmit hope. (Read more about the background story in Hope)
I kept thinking and thinking how this could be represented, as hope does not have a distinct shape or body. It kept bugging me like that puzzle you are not able to put together. Those who know me well will know that I am like a bulldog: if there is something I put my mind to, I will not let go and will do everything in my power to make it happen! This mixed in with my now full blown obsession to transmit a powerful message created a very dangerous concoction. For I started to think about hope, dream about hope, I think I even had visions with hope. Nothing.
I once met a yogi who said something to the effect that if you look for something, you will not find it; however, if you don’t look for it, it will find you. Well this is exactly what happened to me. I was watering my orchids, carefully whipping their leaves when I suddenly realized that there is nothing that could represent that optimistic attitude better than this very plant.
Once I knew what I wanted to paint I grabbed my pencil and started drawing, analyzing every inch of the orchid. Slowly all sounds and events disappeared around me. It was just us: me, the pencil and the orchid. I don’t know how many hours went by. What I do know is that initial burning passion I had changed. It changed to an urge, a desire to be successful in transmitting the message.
Once the sketches were done and I was confident I had a pretty good idea what the end result would look like I grabbed the canvas, my brushes and started painting. I usually question every stroke, every color I use. This time a strange tranquility was present. A secret little place where I found a piece of myself I did not know about before. It was like I was painting hope, but at the same time I was absorbing it from the painting.
When I thought I finished I hung it in my living room. I wanted to see it from left, from right, in daylight, at night. For weeks I kept looking at it and was not sure anymore if it said what I wanted to say. I didn’t know if it needed something else or it was finished. I just could not make up my mind.
Remember the initial obsession? Well, it seems it is something that will never let me go. The thought that maybe there was something else I could do to make it more powerful just kept lingering. One day I decided enough is enough and painted my monogram on it. Sort of like the seal of approval. That is when I knew it was finished, that this would be the paining that my friend would receive.
When i gave this painting to my friend they were speechless. They never expected anything like this. Since we were at a party we didn’t have the chance to talk much about it. However, later they shared with me that they cannot stop thinking about the orchids. They appreciated and thanked me for the message. That was the moment I knew it was worth it: I was able to share my message and passion!