So if I feel super energized or physical, I often want to go wandering with my camera and its macro lens. It usually ends up being a journey of lots of crawling about, up and down, stretching, holding a pose….. On the polar opposite end, if I am feeling quiet, precise, contained and controlled, I will want to get out my ink pens and begin to draw in detail. Tension demands knitting (no pun intended). Loose and slow wants oil paint. Intense and focused needs acrylic paint. Measured and controlled is watercolour.
Lots of physical energy and imprecision hooks me right to building assemblage, mosaic tile work or machine quilting finished whole quilts. Fine manual dexterity and focus is for building the detail on or for fabric art. Lots of physical energy but laser precision is for processing bl/wh film or taking lino to press. Carving lino, however, is like ink drawing – tight and controlled.
All of this intertwines with the spiritual and energetic aspects of art making. It feels like you enter a place which is not based or grounded fully in reality. A creative haze settles around you. When I am fully there, I have little appreciation of things like dogs racing madly in and out of the house, pots boiling dry on the stove, the minutes or even hours ticking by, the ill-effects of spilling, gluing, and spraying on surfaces, open windows and pelting rain, hunger, fatigue, muscle stiffness and many other things. I love this feeling. It’s addictive. People remind me to eat
and stretch. Digital timers keep us safe from kitchen fires. The dogs have been trained to check in or is that check on me. You surface up out of the haze and dip back down again, up and down, up and down.
Then there’s the switching up of the brain functioning. Some would say that the creative haze I speak of above is a right-brainness. I would say it’s different. For thinking however, I reach to the work of Edward de Bono who talks
about the ‘six thinking hats’. http://www.debonogroup.com/six_thinking_hats.php de Bono says that you need to learn different thinking modes including creativity, alternative thinking, judgement, analysis, optimism, objectivity/facts, etc. I came across this many years ago and trained myself to do this deliberately. It is really useful as you move through various phases of art making. Free flowing ideas, alternative thinking, judging…..all needed……
Then there’s that mysterious place I call incubating which for me seems to be a space and function with all three aspects rolled up into a silent unconscious place. I often realize its yield upon awakening. But sometimes I get its benefit a year or two later as a technique or concept I was struggling with learning suddenly seems to be fully present without any practice or thought since the main learning event. That one really blows me away!
I asked my brother once what appealed to him about one of his passions – golf. He said that even though you quite often play the same golf course, every shot, every time, is different. He finds it endlessly engaging. I think art making is the same. Every stroke, every stitch, every cut, every shutter click, every time, is different. For all the myriad of physical, spiritual, energetic, cognitive permutations, it is different, it is stimulating, it is engaging, it is fulfilling (OK there are days when it is not so fulfilling but rather vexing) and it is oh so very very soul filling.