Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coming Around Again

In the Woods
18" X 24" 
From an especially prolific period last year.

I know it has been a while since you’ve heard from me, but fear not, my art will go on. You see I’ve had a bit of a dry spell and current events in our life have kept me from the studio. The time and the desire to create have not intersected lately. But that’s OK. Over the years, I’ve learned to take this in stride and not panic when I’m at the lull in an art cycle.

As in all things, creativity is cyclical too. It’s much like the seasonal transition of a year, only more compressed. Green buds of ideas swell as in spring, unfolding to a luscious summer of expression, then the creative flow mellows and slows, then withdraws into a winter-like dormancy.

I find it is best to relax and not stress when I have these dry spells. Being an over achiever, this lack of productivity makes me twitch a little, however I've learned to recognize that when I start to struggle with my art, if I let it rest, I'm rewarded with a juicy burst of creative flow when the spell is over.

How do I know the dry spell is nearing an end? What tells me I'm ready to make art again? I begin to notice my perception is heightened and the way I look at everything changes. It’s a little bit magical and sensual too.

I start seeing the world around me as though it were a subject for a painting. I get lost in detail; find myself deeply studying the shape of objects—the shadows and the highlights. I mentally mix colors to match the pasta sauce I'm cooking, the towel I'm folding.

I compare color temperature, the warms against the cools. I pull on a sock and ponder how I would render the texture of it. Would I use a dry brush? The blankets on the beds are mountains covered in soft grass; dappled sunlight comes alive as shattered layers of transparent color.

Saturated; the feeling becomes liquid inside me. The urge to create begins as a wind ripple on the water, growing into a wave that pushes into peak curling in upon itself, building power and energy. I return to the studio and the wave of create releases and spreads across the chosen surface as though it were a long white shore, casting off a mist in its urgency, and leaving behind a million bubbles as the energy is released.

I know, it sounds a little sexual. In a way it is. When it happens, it’s not just one wave. It’s a series of waves as the flow of creativity continues and grows. The art flows easy and often.

Really, it’s more like the tide coming in. There is a flurry of activity as two or four, or sometimes more paintings are created before the tide begins to ebb. Then the art making begins to wane. The sand dries and waits patiently for the next wave that signals the return of the tide.

I have a canvas on the easel with the next painting already drawn, quietly awaiting my return. It’s a long weekend and a good time to let the tide come in.

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