Thinking about the creative process…


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.



Please tell me what you think! Go on! Leave a comment! It's ok! :-)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s