The first post in Before & After, a new series where I'll be giving you a peek into the creative process of my iPhone art and photography.
This mixed media piece started as a charcoal drawing on paper. Then I took a photo of it with my iPhone and continued working on the image using iPhone apps, transforming the life study with layers of texture and colour.
I've been experimenting with an ink pen during my life drawing project. It makes me think of the calligraphy master who meditates for an hour before making a brush stroke. Obviously, I'm not claiming to be anywhere close to a calligraphy master, but I do find myself working at a different rhythm, pausing, and then putting down my brush stroke. Ink is so definite.
I made a series of life drawings defining shapes as either white or black. Finding a quality of mystery emerge in the drawings when resisting the temptation to add outlines or boundaries. Which leads me to a quote about art and mystery:
The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.
From my sketchbook: charcoal on paper. Soft and brittle. Smudges. A series of 2-5-10 minute poses. The sound of charcoal as it snaps. Different mediums see different things. Or I see differently using different tools... With charcoal I feel like I'm sculpting, adding, subtracting. The ink brush wants to find lines, shadows and light. This time I go back to charcoal. Here are a few of my sketches.
When your art is your work or when you're posting your creations online, the spontaneity is easily lost. You want your clients and buyers to be happy and you want to give your blog visitors a valuable experience. Your art becomes an achievement.
Part of you goes about your day thinking "this would make a good blog post" or "now I know how to solve that detail in the commission I'm working on". Sometimes you feel you're producing art and regardless of what mood you're in, the job is due tomorrow. Even though you love your job, it's partly become an obligation.
When you put your creative life on display or make a living as an artist, it's easy to loose sight of creating without intention, just for the sheer joy of it.
A blog or an online portfolio or posting on Instagram or Flickr can be a creative outlet in itself and a great way to stay motivated and hold yourself accountable for your creative projects. A way to document your creative journey and to connect with others.
On the other hand, posting takes a lot of time and puts you on a schedule. You can begin blogging for the comments on your blog, and maybe you start looking for validation from your readers, rather than from within yourself. In a time when we seem more busy documenting our lives than living our lives, it takes deliberation to find a peaceful space that hasn't got anything to do with other people or how they perceive us. To create a space that has nothing to do even with our own expectations.
A creativity lab. So can you plan to be spontaneous? Write your own permission slip? Can you make room for experiments, happy accidents and non-judgemental creativity? Find time and space to change your mindset?
This autumn I've reserved Friday afternoons for spontaneous explorations and I promised myself that I wouldn't display any of the art from these sessions here on my blog. It's been a process that's about loosening up, improvising, letting go of expectations, being associative, having fun and allowing art to unfold intuitively. I've been working quickly with natural media. Each Friday a new theme and different mediums. The emphasis is on getting into flow rather than stepping back and judging.
I've spent time getting messy with acrylics, oils, dry pastels, clay, oil pastels, watercolours, textiles, charcoal and gouache. Working on different types of canvases such as cardboard, different kinds of paper, wood panel and canvas. I'll admit that after the first two sessions I felt disappointed with the "result", even though the whole point was to let go of expectations, but after that it's been much easier to let go, have fun and step into the freedom of playful creating.