Creativity is about play and a kind of willingness to go with your intuition. It’s crucial to an artist. If you know where you are going and what you are going to do, why do it? — Frank Gehry
This is a very comforting quote for me. When I paint, I frequently have only a very vague idea or sometimes — no idea at all — of what I am searching for in the new work. I start somewhere, and often, the finished piece is so far away from where it started, it’s unrecognizable. One of my favorite things about working this way is that I discover things — such as shapes and images — that I just couldn’t invent.
I just discovered this great blog post about an artist/craftsman named Wendell Castle at Emily Evans Eerdmans’ blog. Wendell Castle has been creating amazing furniture for over 50 years. He has ten “Adopted Rules of Thumb” for staying at the top of one’s creative game that I find very compelling:
If you are in love with an idea, you are no judge of its beauty or value.
It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.
After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.
We hear and apprehend what we already know.
The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.
Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.
If it’s offbeat or surprising, it’s probably useful.
If you don’t expect the unexpected, you will not find it.
Don’t get too serious.
If you hit the bullseye every time, the target is too near.
To find out more about Wendell Castle, and view more of his amazing creations, visit his website at wendellcastle.com
I recently read an article by a representational painter on another blog, in which the writer said that one should very carefully and thoroughly plan one’s paintings. My first thought was, “No waaaaay!” That would take all the fun out the process of discovery that, for me at least, is a great deal of what painting is about. Feeling a little smug, I thought of the following much-loved quote:
You are lost the instant you know what the result will be. – Juan Gris
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. – Jonathan Swift
Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature. – Josef Albers
I am getting very excited about my upcoming solo show. I’m painting like mad, and I’m beginning to be very happy with some of the results. I think I may just have a future in this wonderful world of painting!
The David Hockney version of my studio/office in a cleaned up, but still half-painted, state. (view larger image here.)
I love seeing other artists’ spaces, and got just such an opportunity when Farrell Brickhouse posted pics of his friends’ palettes on Facebook a while back. They have now been reposted on Sharon L. Butler’s blog, Two Coats of Paint, so you can see them, too.
I’d love to have so much space. Last weekend at the encaustic workshop at Majestic Ranch, I got to work in a large, airy well-lit studio, on a large table with plenty of space for all my tools, palette, painting panels, and miscellaneous extras. It really helped my workflow.