Behind the Process / Five Things
My kids are natural artists. Perhaps more so than me.
I’ve spent the last eight years or so watching our boys make art. And like most other parents, I’ve been suitably impressed by their creativity and how much their artworks capture their individual personalities. Recently, I asked each of the four older boys to build a sculpture for me using the Grimm’s Rainbow that we’d bought for Lewis earlier this year. They all said ‘yes’ without even skipping a beat. Not one of them expressed any apprehensiveness as to whether or not they could make a ‘good’ sculpture—the fear factor never once came into play. Watching each of them work was also quite the revelation: they all finished their sculptures in less than five minutes! No procrastination. No moping about. No creative blocks. No sense of overwhelm. No lack of ideas. Each of them simply started building and, within five or so minutes, they were all done. I have so much to learn from my boys. (Especially as this paragraph itself has taken me more than an hour to write.)
It's good to set deadlines. It's okay to move deadlines.
About two months ago, I sat down and wrote down a deadline for myself: complete and release my series for To Love by Cameron’s anniversary in September. This gave me a clear and tangible goal. Given the number of weeks I had available, it was easy then to work out how many paintings I needed to finish each week. This meant that as soon as I had time to paint in the studio, I knew exactly what I had to do. By simply setting myself a deadline, I gave myself purpose, direction, and instruction. Which is great! But then, of course, real life intervenes and deadlines have to be moved back. Do I feel like I’ve failed? Not at all. I’m not a super human. I’m only human. I can only do what I can do.
I don't know how to paint. I do know how to paint.
I spent a lot of time earlier this year reading about the technicalities of painting. Painter’s Handbook by Mark David Gottsegen was particularly enlightening. At the same time, it made me realise how much I didn’t know. And how much time I could be spending learning all about the different supports, sizes, grounds, binders, solvents, pigments, paints, etc. And yet, when I pick up my paint brush, dip it into my paint, and start to make brush strokes, something seems to take hold of me and, in that instance, I know how to paint.
Writing still scares me, but it always fills me up.
Every time I finish writing something, I think, ‘Well, that was wonderful! I’m sure I could do that again!’ Every time I sit down to write, I think, ‘I can’t write. I’m a fraud. No words will come. Why, oh why, did I start another blog?’
More sleep means better art. (For me, anyway.)
And yet, here I am. 11:36 pm. Enough said.
You can read the other posts in this series here.