*Even though things are slowly starting to reopen, I will not consider my quarantine over until I can go back to work.
A couple of years ago, I took a photograph of a beach sunset. The photo was lovely but it did not catch the luminosity and vibrancy that I witnessed that evening. I finished this painting last night– actually a triptych of panels since I did not have an appropriate sized canvas– that teased out the truth of my experience of that evening.
I recently read Keri Smith’s book The Wander Society, another of countless books on how to jump start the creative process. The author promotes the practice of “wandering” through the world, both literally and figuratively, and learning to mindfully observe what is discovered. The book’s description at the Amazon website describes “…the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life.” At Goodreads I gave the book only 3 stars simply because this is not an original notion. That criticism being made, I quickly realized that I have been negligent in this very form of creative self-care.
It has been raining quite regularly for many weeks, but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun broke through. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in my car and began to wander. I ended up being entertained by a pair of white rabbits in a vegetable garden, joining a gathering of members of a bread baking guild as they made pizza in a wood-burning oven, roamed around the outside and inside of an old church, paused for a few minutes in a Zen meditation room, drove through a university, stopped at a library, and came home to a steaming bowl of home-made beef stew.
I visually documented my wandering. Here are a few of my images:
I am not faceless as long as I have a pen and a good internet connection.
Some creatives have talismans in their creative spaces. Many an artist or writer will waste time in searching for that “right” object to serve this function and even more time arranging their spaces around the object. They do all of this instead of arting or writing. I know this because I spent time rearranging my “dream corner” and finding the right place to put my dream catcher.
Another time-waster of creatives is engaging in some sort of “ritual” before sitting down to work. They dim the lights, light candles, fondle the aforementioned talisman (I DON’T do that with my dream catcher), make a whole ceremony over making a pot of tea (or pouring a few fingers of Scotch), and so on.
Again, I am guilty of that myself. For example, this morning, instead of working in my sketchbook which I vowed to do every morning, I wasted time doing an inventory and making a swatch list of all my colored pencils. Seriously.
Now I know some creatives will argue that their talismans and rituals are vital to their work. Some see their work spaces and times as sacred and thus requiring such objects and actions to sanctify them. I get that. I do. To me, the act of creating is a calling, a vocation. You must treat the work with respect and awe.
But I know for myself that such things can be massive time-wasters. I may do them because I don’t want to face the blank page or empty canvas. I do them because I am just lazy and would rather screw around on Facebook than sit down and work. Sometimes, I know the work is going to bring up uncomfortable emotional baggage. Who wants to experience that? All of us, if we want to live out our calling as creatives.
Don’t let your time-wasters divert you into becoming a master of the fine art of procrastination.
ljgloyd (c) 2018
I write, I cook, I drum. I should make a tee-shirt that says this.
I used to make art too — drawing and painting. I am not all that technically adept. My high school art teacher, way back when, called my work “painterly.” I think that was a nice way of saying that she did not expect to see any photo-realism coming from my brush or pens.
The consequence is that over the years I have not made as much art. That nagging inner critic works just as diligently with fine artists as she/he does with writers.
That being said, I have decided to branch away from my usual avenues of creative expression (writing, drumming, cooking, photographing) and work on improving my technical skills in the visual arts. I just started working with colored pencils (for the first time) since my home studio is not equipped to handle wet media. Furthermore, I need some practice with the most basic of subjects: humans.
To that end, here is a little study I did yesterday with pencils.
ljgloyd (c) 2018