Posts Tagged ‘creative process’

Staying in a feast of creativity – Protecting my emotional state

August 11th, 2011 2 comments

Do you have trouble with distractions right when you are getting into a great creative place? When I am “in the groove” I am so focused and directed on what I am doing that time flies by, sometimes hours, without coming up for air. I seem to constantly know the next thing to do to get to where I am going even if I haven’t really thought about where that ultimate destination is. Everything seems to flow. Well, I love that place. When I find it, I don’t want to let it go. I am hungry and in the midst of a feast. A feast of productivity and creativity.

Image of Wall #7817

Wall #7817

My creative juices dry up when I get judgmental about myself and what I am doing. So how does THAT happen?  Errr…. Screeching to a halt…. There’s not enough time in the day to go into HOW I can be such a critic of myself… BUT I can talk about what I do to overcome it. (BTW, I need this today…)

I am trying to prepare for a new photography exhibit…. And I am procrastinating. I’d like to do everything well in advance in a relaxed way, but something is interfering. It is my Inner Critic.

My critic says things like,

“You are all tapped out.”

“That’s been done.”

“This is a picture of debris. What were you thinking?”

“That’s not good. Neither is that. Don’t you have something better?”

“Maybe if you made that one really small it would be ok.”

“Maybe if you worked on that one it would be more interesting.”

“Maybe you should just do something altogether different.”

“These don’t look good together.”

“Your color palette is confusing.”

“You need a singular vision.”

“What are you trying to say here?”


The actual messages from my critic vary, but the effect is the same. Dead halt. Analysis Paralysis. Don’t make a mistake. Use your analytical skills. Don’t be so emotional. It is being intellectual about something that is intuitive and warm. I am really starting to think that I should leave grouping of images for a show to someone else. It is a different part of the brain at work for this.

Note to readers: I wrote this a few months ago and subsequently I had someone else group the pictures for me, then I rearranged it to my taste. It broke my paralysis. The next show after that, I didn’t have any problem getting a second opinion.

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Evolution of a New Collection

July 30th, 2011 No comments

Wire #8425b

Wall #8806

Paint #8366

Wall #7981

Here are a few images from a collection I am working on. For now, the working title of this collection is called “Alleys” since many of the images are coming from walks down urban alleys and streets.

I am wondering how other artists develop new collections… I don’t seem to be conscious of a change until I am almost through it and on to the next. The first sign of change is boredom with what I am doing. This is very subtle and I often don’t even realize I am bored until I find myself stopped. I wonder what is wrong. I stop work for awhile. I don’t feel like “playing”.I’ve tried pushing through it and the result is boring. I have to accept that it is time to think about something else for awhile.

I truly believe that unless I allow myself to have that down time, the creative spirit within me can’t be restored. Then after the pause — sometimes instantly, sometimes very gradually — I am rejuvenated. Wonder floods back into my soul. I am back in love with what I am doing and seeing. I am operating at a very intuitive level again. Playing, experimenting, breaking my own rules, breaking everybody else’s rules. Wahoo!!!

Slowly I start to see a method to my madness, a pattern or a process or a theme. The process of refining that new direction, and zeroing in on what it IS that fascinates or attracts me, requires me to become more conscious of it. That is where I am right now with my Alleys (and Streets) theme.

It is really interesting now that I think about it… I see a parallel with how I change and how musical styles (or artistic styles) change.  My own artistic efforts follow the same lifecycle as an artistic movement on a much smaller scale.
Artistic Style Lifecycle (music as an example)
  • Bach thinks of a new way of structuring or expressing music. He breaks or bends the existing musical “rules” in a new and liberating way. Others start breaking the same rules and extending the new vision. Then gradually the rate of change slows down a little, those new “rules” and style get codified into the status quo.
  • Mozart comes along. He focuses on taking the now newly established “rules” to their logical conclusion. He continues adding more depth and refinement of those “rules” to the point of taking that vision to its highest realization. And other musicians build success on that style that is a culmination of a set of “rules” or aesthetic sensibilities.
  • Beethoven takes the status quo and warps, bends, and breaks it as Bach did… another rule-breaker composer who ushers in a new movement of musical expression.

Ok, they didn’t explain it exactly that way in music school, but you get my drift.

Anyway, I see a similar (albeit smaller) pattern in my own development of style and collections within my work. And the best part is that I get to be Bach, Beethoven AND Mozart for my own artistic journey!!

I am now standing at the midpoint of a new collection’s development. I can see it shaping up and I will do some more writing and sharing about it to help clarify and refine that new vision. I will also be continuing to add images to it as I distill my interest in this next body of work.

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