Monday, October 10, 2011

To sign or not to sign

© Laying down work to contemplate
"In making art you need to respond authentically, both to your subject matter and to your materials. Art Happens between you and something - a subject, an idea, a technique - and both you and that something need to be free to move" - Art and Fear

For every artist, the key to fulfillment is finding that artistic project that speaks for itself. Part of being successful is being prepared and being organized. The other part is discipline, practice, patience and a great deal of perseverance.

And yes... obsession! That is what keeps us going through the stages of creativity.
So we start with Inspiration or the Inception of an idea, a concept, the subject matter. We plan some of the smaller details, a color palette and organize everything within reach. Then we move to the next step of Conception. We dive in to get the work done, tackle with our fears and bring paint to paper.

The third step is the most interesting of them all, its Contemplation.

As an artist, we are usually our worst critique or may be its a defense mechanism to protect ourselves from harsh comments. Whichever, a painting is never complete until we decide to sign on it. Signing is more a ritualistic act which means that 'we are now ready to share/ show off our baby to the world'.
Believe me, and I don't just talk for myself, all artist go through this step. And we all have a couple pieces at least still on the easel or in sight for us to look and think. Sometimes we even go and add a few more strokes, sometimes we do nothing but look at it and contemplate.

What do we think? A painting is a voice, a story we want to tell the world. The contemplation process is essentially looking at our work and seeing what story it really tells. There has been occasions when I have gessoed right on top of one of these pieces and started all over again. Its normal!

Creativity is a cycle. Its a process we repeat again and again and again, until we master every minute detail of it and learn to deliver with perfection.

And I am not kidding when I say "Being an artist is a lifestyle, not a job!".

Monday, October 3, 2011

Time for action

© A page from Sketch Journal

"The point is that you learn how to make your work by making your work, and a great many of the pieces you make along the way will never stand out as finished art. The best you can do is make art you care about..... and lots of it!" - Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted orland.

Gathering ideas is a big job. As artists we relentlessly spend our days researching, reading and traveling to gather as much inspiration as we can. But thats not where the creative process ends... there is more. Oh yes! Inspiration is just the first step.

© My working table: Summer 2011
The next step is all about rolling up our sleeves and diving in. Its action time! This is the stage which scares me the most... this step is always threatened by expectations. The fact that once you have stained a canvas with paint, you will never be able to take it back to its clean pristine state again. The fear of not being a 100% certain about the end result.

Every piece is part of a learning curve, there is always scope for accidents (some happy). 

So here's what I do. I close my eyes, choose a color and paint in a base coat. A more logically approach of course is to choose a neutral color to do this. But since most of my work have at least 7-8 layers of paint and mediums, it doesn't matter. All it does is help make a mark. (Except for when I work with Water Colors, then I plan every single brush stroke in advance).

The rest is a matter of perseverance. It requires a creative to be hopeful, excited and being their own cheerleader. Because until you get famous only people who care about you, care about your work. 

© Happy Hour_10X14_Water Color on Paper
Artists are famously known for being moody and work only when inspiration hits them. A very romantic notion indeed. In real life however, its like any other profession. To be successful, we toil for hours in our studio. We diligently lock ourselves in gathering what I like to call "Paint Miles". Agreed every single piece of work is not a masterpiece, but every deliberate brush stroke is a step closer to it.

Until then what keeps us going is obsession! 

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