Reply To: The Creative Spark
I appreciate this conversation, as I don’t discuss it much with anyone (why?? I would like to surround myself with artists, but present situations make that unlikely and coupled with feeling content enough in having inner dialogue… my experiences with other artists exists in a visual state for the most part. I think we all feel differently about it and it’s fascinating just to see their output and read any comments they might have I suppose). This reply might be long-winded, but I will attempt to articulate what it is ::for me::.
I am inspired by nearly everything! I have so many many interests and appreciate passion in anyone. Whenever something seems interesting, or familiar, or odd, funny, clever, harmonious…
music, stories in books or on screen, visual art, color combinations, an old photograph, a building, a toy… really anything!
I can’t really explain what makes me decide to draw or paint something. It’s just a desire to spend time on an image or idea. Maybe try to reproduce it? It can be something that already exists or something imaginary. Sharing it with other people isn’t the main goal for me, although I do enjoy that as well, in the end. If someone else gets that brain spark from it – that another mind is out there considering this *thing* too – it is satisfying ? amusing ? fun? energizing?
Drawing and painting is a way to document something I’m interested in. Like a photograph or a tattoo. It is also an activity I can “get lost” in. Lose track of time, everything else fades away, meditative maybe.
Ideas sometimes are fully formed and I try to produce them onto a surface, or they are formed and as I’m working on the painting they evolve, or they are a general idea – a fog of sorts – and it is formed in the process.
I can’t land on the balance explanation… I think that an intention is more serious when it is a commission. It requires more planning and pre-visualization. If it’s for myself, there is almost no strategy. There are patterns based on how I might execute something, and they’re from past failures and successes. Experience. When is it “done”? …sometimes it works out and you just sense it, and sometimes it doesn’t look right and has taken a turn that doesn’t line up somehow.
As to Campbell’s idea of an artist being a seer or a shaman- yes, I agree that can be a main characteristic. Sometimes it isn’t to show something that hasn’t been seen before, but also to show something that may have been seen but ignored or overlooked. “SEE?”
So maybe artists are not just seeing, but are those who have found a way to show?
•When did I know I was an artist?
I think the best way to answer that is to say that there became a time where I accepted it. When I was growing up, “artists” were historical geniuses like Michelangelo, DaVinci, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, and authors like Poe and Roald Dahl, actors and inventors which you could read about and who people talked about. I never thought I could be one. I painted anyway.
I met someone who called themself an artist, and over time I recognized that anyone whose bliss is creative actions is an “artist”. I sold a painting. I sold another painting. It didn’t seem so absurd anymore to be included in this category of people.
I am a mother of two boys, and their teacher as well. That is my primary job now, but I do make time for art. Sometimes I make money and sometimes I don’t. I had a very difficult time trying to choose a career path during high school and college, because I could not imagine anything I would want to do for most of the week, for the rest of my life. Making things is really it, my “bliss”. Thankfully my husband makes a steady income and I do not have to earn a living at something I don’t enjoy. I can care for my children & make things instead. I am grateful.
I hope this all made sense! Despite an affinity for reading, I am not very good at expressing ideas in words.