Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Creative Process - Artists are not like other people.


Artists are not like other people. Creating is not something we chose  as a self indulgent whimsy, floating around with paintbrush/pen/musical instrument in hand, head in the clouds, living in some fey fantasy La-La Land waiting for The Muse to touch us with her faery wand. Tell someone you’re an artist though and you will see an approximation of just that cross their minds.

For most artists creativity is not a choice; it's a need. It is essential to your wellbeing and your peace of mind and it is as intrinsic to you as your DNA. It is hard wired into your soul.

All very well and good but your creative soul has its own set of rules and needs. Meet these needs and you will feel content, harmony will reign and your work will flow. Neglect or ignore these needs and you will begin to feel emotionally dehydrated, irritable, defensive, hostile, exhausted and pretty much ready to kill anyone who crosses you. Or  looks at you the wrong way. Oh, and your work, your beloved work. Producing anything significant will be like pulling teeth.

The secret lies in knowing and understanding what the creative self needs. You wouldn’t buy a car and not bother to find out whether it takes leaded or unleaded petrol. Nor would you think of driving it around without putting any petrol in it at all. Understand what you’ve got and you can care for it and nurture it. It will, in turn, nurture you. Sounds corny but it’s true

Next time I will look at how your creativity works.

In the meantime do leave comments, opinions etc – feedback on this would be most valuable.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Creative Process - Failure


I'm knackered, burnt out, depleted, bereft of inspiration ( I could go on but I don't want to go bringing parrots into it*) . Another bout of creative failure has brought about this sorry state. And yet I am not sorry. Not sorry I tried and not sorry that, once again, I failed. 

Being self taught means there is a lot more trial and error than usual; I haven't had art college to help me define my ideas or style, it's been a wide ranging, on-going process of trying everything to see what works. And what doesn't. A lot of this process has taken place publicly, on my blog, website and facebook page not to mention the Etsy shops that died a death. Oh yes, I've put a lot of crap out there over the last few years.

There have been times when failure has been particularily hard - I have torn up and thrown out almost all my early paper based work. That  really really hurt and I confess to having cried but each time I did it I knew I was clearing the way for something new.

And that's the point right there - failure is not this isolated 'thing', it's part of a process. Obvious really but we tend to focus on the bit that didn't work rather than the wonderful, complex, evolving whole that it is.  

I once likened the creative process to wandering from a place you know to a place you don't know and possibly can't conceive of with a cardboard box on your head. To which I might add that there is a big element of going over the edge of a cliff as well. With the box still on your head, of course. Sometimes I make a mad dash for the edge and fling myself off just to see what happens, at other times I find myself inching closer and closer to the edge delicately feeling my way along. I am driven by curiosity and just enough fear and uncertainty to make it interesting.

I realized the other day that I loved this crazy process and was no longer that fazed by the possibility of failure - public or otherwise. The prospect of seeing whether I could fly off the edge of the metaphorical cliff or if I was going to crash and burn is just too damm exciting.

And in the spirit of possible failure I intend to blog more about what goes to make up the creative process, why artists are different from other people and how not to burn out . . .  that kind of thing. Stay tuned.

* Youtube search 'Norwegian Blue Parrot' if you don't get this reference.

** This picture isn't actually relevant I just didn't have a picture of a mad artist running off the edge of a cliff.

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