Monthly Archives: August 2018

Thinking about the creative process…

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Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

—Steve Jobs

I woke very early this morning, still aglow from the excitement of the last couple of days.  I was dreaming of lying my head against the cool window of the return flight home….the buzz of the jet….the slight vibration and the faint voices from the back of the cabin. Then, I was awake….and now, I’m heading out for an early morning walk before  I go back to playing catch up with work.  Heading down to Lauretta Jeans for breakfast….or maybe I’ll walk over to Harlow on Hawthorne.  I won’t know until I’m actually outside.

I usually make a nice breakfast for the two of us on Sunday mornings.  John loves my cornmeal waffles….fresh OJ….et al….but today, I’m letting him sleep in.  I need the quiet as I contemplate the 3 art pieces I’m working on.  I’ve been pacing myself slowly, making careful decisions, but at the point where I now am, I have to make adjustments.  I have to spend time alone processing everything.  It can be an agonizing process.

I have learned to be quiet when I’m making these types of decisions.  I weigh my options…”Does the shading look better this way or that way?…..Should I use this mixed media element, or glass? …”  Unless one is an artist, I seriously doubt he or she has any idea of the internal process associated with creativity.  It can be hard work!

I’ve just taken two magnificent Michael DeMeng workshops that provided me with new skills and new options.  His paint applications are already hard at work on a sculpture that I’ve done. I free-handed a Frida Kahlo head from clay, and have now painted it, trying to immulate the look of Mexican folk art.  It is to be attached to a big mosaic butterfly that I’ve made from glass and wood.  The other piece is a penny mosaic that I oxydized wigh vinegar to get the turquoise copper patina. I’m doing a stencil cutout of Frida’s face, made of leather.  It’s coming along, and I’m happy with the background, but there is something about the face that is off…She looks unhappy.  Well, I guesss she WAS unhappy, so perhaps I shouldn’t worry about that one so much.  The third piece is a mixed media mosaic of her face, and I’m trying to decide whether I should stick it to a brightly colored resin background or onto a beautiful slab of walnut….and if I use the walnut, should I attach silver milagres to it?  Decisions…decisions….

People used to think that the left side of the brain was the analytical side and that the right side was the creative side. Subsequent research, however, indicates that the WHOLE brain works toward the creative process…..toward ANY process, actually. Everything from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– consists of many interacting cognitive processes (both conscious and unconscious) and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what one is actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task.  So right now, I guess I’m at the incubation stage….mulling over what I’ve done up until now….thinking about the next steps.

The two main stages in my own creative process involve stimulation, then intense concentration and withdrawal into myself before I can finally culminate my thoughts into some kind of outward expression.  These processes can be agonizing, but then, something happens and it all seems to fit together in the end, and there is a sensation of relief….a relief of pressure and anxiety.

However these pieces turn out, they will be loved by some and hated by others.  That is the bittersweetness of being an artist.  In any case, I’m thrilled to be going in to this particulr gallery.  I’ve wanted to show there for years, but simply did not apply until now.  I’m happy….and feeling accomplished.

 

 

Celebration of a Sweet Man

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Yesterday was my husband, John’s birthday.  He has a heart condition, so each birthday is a blessing.  As it stands, I cherish each moment that we can spend together. John is one of the kindest men I have ever met, always willing to jump in and help….not only me, around the house, but our family….and everyone, really.  If ever I take issue with anything he says or does, his response is always the same:  “Let’s sit down and talk about this. ”  He is an intellectual with a kind heart.  He is interesting, enormously talented and a lot of fun to be around.  We love taking day trips together, working on projects around the house and having long talks into the night.  He does tech work for me when I make art, and offers helpful suggestions.  He never raises his voice to me, is dependable and a good provider.  I am so lucky to have him in my life!

(Oh…and although his hair looks purple in this picture, it really isn’t. 😉 )

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Stacy and John in Reno.  Photo by Kat Wilson

My gift to him this year was a Tuck and Patti concert at the Alberta Rose theater. I have seen Tuck and Patti perform many times, beginning back in the 80s.  However, this show was the best one of them all.

My friend, Adlai Alexander opened.  He could have been the headliner.  I first heard of Adlai from my best friend, formerly from Reno, who lived and performed there at the same time as Adlai.  I was so happy to learn that Portland is Adlai’s home now.  What an enormous talent and a sweet-hearted man Adlai is!  We enjoy his work tremendously.  Tuck Andress was his guitar teacher back in Palo Alto, and he is close friends with Tuck and Patti.  The love between the trio was obvious.

Tuck and Patti are still very strong performers.  Tuck did a couple of guitar solos and told some great stories.  Patti also told some entertaining stories, one of which reminded me of John and myself.  Their relationship seems to be a lot like ours.

Like Adlai, Tuck Andress is a phenomenal guitarist, one of the best I have ever heard.  He definitely has a distinct style:

Tuck and Patti gave us a sample of a children’s album that will be coming out soon…in September, I think.  I cannot wait to buy it for Ingrid!     Rene Best

One of the highlights of the evening was when Hershal Yatovitz jointed Tuck and Patti and Adlai onstage for some amazing guitar playing and a beatuiful couple of songs. Adlai’s exquisite voice was the perfect match for Patti’s smooth-as-good-whiskey, velvety voice.

We also loved their rendition of “All of Me”.  It was fantastic!

John claims that I couldn’t have given him a better gift, which thrilled me.

Yesterday was his actual birthday, which we celebrated with family at Lauretta Jean’s pie shop, John’s favorite neighborhood haunt.  Pie and booze….which included a nice shot of Jameson for him.

I am so happy that we had this rich experience together, and I hope and pray for many more birthday celebrations together in our future.  It will be hard to top this one next year, though!

Thanks to Adlai, Hershel, Tuck, Patti, Sarah-Lynda, Nathan and, of course, little Ingrid.  It was a beautiful weekend.