It’s early Saturday morning, and you’d think I could sleep in, but I just can’t. About this time on a work day I’d be sitting at my desk already, checking the emails that arrived between the time I left the day before and the moment I arrived the next. I’d be putting a pot of coffee on to brew, and perhaps running downstairs to the cafeteria to grab a muffin. Although I got to bed fairly late last night, I can’t seem to sleep much past my usual morning wake up call. Besides, I have too much to do today, and I must get started! I’ll surely regret it later, but the wonderful part of weekends is that I can lay down for a nap if I get tired. Wish it were so during the week, too.
As I lay in bed this morning, a thought occurred to me. I realized that when I create a piece, I have found that I can do little to control the result; I can only rejoice in the outcome. Perhaps not in all cases. Perhaps this is not the case for every artist. Perhaps I am such a novice that someone with more skill has exceedingly more control over the outcome of their pieces. Indeed, it depends, perhaps, on the mediums used. I imagine non-water media (oils, etc.) have an easier time of staying put where you apply them, and don’t flow all over the page or canvas.
The process of creating a piece of art is very mysterious to me. Much like the mold on my refridgerator seal, which mysteriously reappears regularly despite getting wiped away, and the moisture trapped between the layers of the panes of glass in the kitchen, they manifest for a reason, but it is a seamless process, where they weren’t and all of a sudden they are. When I work on something, I usually don’t have a set idea of what I want to do, or where I want to end up. I start off within, feeling an emotion if you will, and then letting that feeling manifest itself through the use of color and texture, pulling various materials out as I go along, through resonating with how a certain piece of paper feels between my fingers, or with a color that draws me to it. I will usually start with an “inspiration piece” or a theme of some sort, but where it goes from there is anybody’s guess, mine included.
I often wonder what drives others to create. It seems to be a predominantly *feminine* trait, perhaps a continuance (or in lieu) of the birthing process. Seems to me that ‘god’ perhaps may be feminine after all, but I digress. After my long rant about class costs, etc., it occurred to me that we take classes for different reasons. My reasons are many-fold, as I do enjoy the camaraderie with other like-minded folk, and am inspired by seeing others’ works in progress, but mosly I like to go because I want to learn a technique or process.
Sometimes the ones who teach are particularly inspiring. Their works of art are unique and rely on their special, and especially mastered, techniques to accomplish these ‘revolutionary’ works. They may also be inspiring in more intangible ways, and help you to get to a place within yourself you never knew existed. Claudine Hellmuth and Julianna Coles are these kinds of teachers, and in my very personal opinion, worth every dime I spent on their classes. Both of them don’t just teach you how to make a specific project, they teach you the techniques to make a project that can be applied to ANY project, as well as the process with which they create. Both of them asked me to bring a “goodie bag” to share with others, knowing that images and various (unfamiliar) materials springboard the creative process. I’d never noticed it before, but after these classes I became acutely aware that it certainly was a huge and important part of *my* process, though perhaps not everyone creates from the same place.
As artists, or crafters (whatever you want to call us collectively), we seem to have an innate sense of color and spatial organization. If our IQ tests depended solely on how we scored on these, we’d be through the roof, right up there with Einstein and da Vinci. Unfortunately, a good number of us lack traditional art training, and such things as color theory and composition become important when creating works of art. But if you’re just ‘making a project’ and following instructions, and that’s the extent of your creative urge, that’s cool too. It just depends upon the reason you are creating. Having a basic understanding of art theory certainly helps make the creative process easier, but many of us know it instinctively, and learning it only reaffirms something we already were innately aware of.
While Julianna and Claudine are very professional and personable, not *all* teachers are so. They may have genius but can’t elucidate, but perhaps they could be drawn out, with the right questions, in the right venue, provided one knows what the questions should be. Inquiries about not only what they are doing (take this stuff and spread it on that) but the how and the why (why are you selecting that particular piece; how did you come to pick it?). See what I mean? It’s figuring out the process, and then assimilating it into your own creative process.
In any case, I was thinking it would be so doggone cool if someone would come out with a book which compiled “the best of” the traits that some of these teachers have… to tap in to the what, the how and the why… of their creative processes. Not focus so much on the project, but on the whole creative process that drives the artist, distilled into a formula that can be applied to anyone.