Inspire and reflect
We all need to recharge the source that resides in our sometimes tired hearts. The myriad of different conditions that we experience naturally become congruent with our ideas and actions towards the making of work.
It helps to reflect and go deeper into ourselves at times.
So I have picked a few famous observations from renowned artists.
“I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart.” Vincent van Gogh
I am seeking is an action to take. Seeking can mean to find a way forward. Looking for and looking at. Always questioning and discovering.
This doesn’t necessarily manifest as a glamorous act. Seeking a way to get something simple done can be as a monumental task. This is the case and can be different for each of us. What does Van Gogh continue to say?
Seeking could be something to strive for in itself. When we have that exhausted feeling it can be just getting out of the door. For an artist scratching something onto a substrate, or just making a start a decision. The more progress you start to make the more resistance you can feel.
Striving and seeking together with all our heart. So is our heart our true mind? The whole being concentrating on striving and seeking. I find this really helpful to reflect on when seeking and certainly striving feels like a distant notion.
Another aspect of seeking could be to continually experiment and express. This practise begins to open the doors and I find that the resistance becomes much clearer. For me and certainly not for everyone the action of doing is a remedy to an inbuilt and inherent lethargy and blocking.
As a painter putting all that I feel into my work is the point. Not just doing it when “I feel” like it.
I find the following quote linked to the mindset of striving and seeking.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” Andy Warhol
Amazing observation and my first interpretation is again is linked to mindset.
“They always Say… makes me think of responsibility and whether I take it or not. When I do, the second part of the quote comes into play. Be the change you want to see another famous quote points to taking responsibility for transformation. In a sense the transformation of perspective is one of the greatest benefits coming from the creative process.
Making a painting is collection of such moments and thoughts of intention, transformation and change. A change to the way that I see and sense what is around me. This in turn has an impact on the decisions that I make on a daily basis.
A profound concept the one of change in relation to creating a new something. The question has existed or not is one thing. Is it about doing and taking responsibility?
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol
I really love this quote from Andy Warhol. It is such sound advice. I have started sharing my process with a few students and it is so common for anyone new to creating to self-sabotage. What I mean by this is that it is so easy to immediately denigrate your own creations.
This may well be down to the wiring in our brains that goes back to our childhood. Making art, after all, invites a response and everyone relates differently. Also, we are changing all the time. I notice that one day I can be painting and feel very happy about my work with my situations seeming bright and hope-filled. This can change in an instant, sometimes for no apparent reason.
I have a selection of work on display in my studio. I prefer to have well-tested pieces on the wall. While I am painting I can recognise when it is time to have a break especially if the pieces on display start to look unsatisfactory.
If that happens to me it may well happen to everybody. As a young man, the same thing would happen when I listened to different music. I would have periods of time where I just no longer play a particular record and then years later when listening again I would fall back in love with it.
As human beings, we change our ideas all the time and our response to what we see changes repeatedly. As an artist, it is the doing where the practice lies not in the thinking of doing or waiting for approval.
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali
Following on from the previous thoughts procrastination could be attached to the fear of imperfection. I find this comes up when creating this content for example. Do I put it out there or spend ages making absolutely sure I am putting everything I want to into it.
What is perfection? Does it exist? Is it worth striving for? These questions are interesting and of course there are many points of view. On a practical level perfection can be an inhibitor or a motivator depending on the reaction towards the idea of being perfect.
When painting portraits perfection does seem impossible but the desire to reach a point of satisfaction does exist for me.
Targets and goals hold me back sometimes because as I enter into a deeper understanding of the task at hand the sheer enormity of the amount of work involved destabilises my work flow.
What does happen and is really encouraging, is that whatever we do on a consistent basis just improves all the time. Especially if it has a long time goal and target attached to the doing of it.