As I previously mentioned... "I" am often paralyzed and overpowered by sensory input in a particular place or situation. Colour and too much visual information shuts down my ability to both process and act upon what "I" am experiencing... no matter how beautiful the subject may be.
In order to deal with this sensory overload... "I" reduce my expectations of my Self... use my sketching materials... either pencil or pens to record impressions... or the "Idea" that causes "Me" to look upon it as a subject of high interest. My camera serves to back up (not replace) my sifting through impressions... along with notes that "I" find interesting and that might trigger and recapture some of the initial excitement later in the studio.
This secondary approach to entering the painting "mode" or process usually results in my finding "The Flow"... as I' ll refer to it... meaning that state in creating when everything else around and inside you ... even Time... ceases to effect, or for that matter even exist. It is in my opinion, another plane of "existence"... a "place"where many artists spend time.... a place where they say that they "play" with their Muse.
It is this space... one of complete solitude and Freedom that "I" seek before launching into painting. Often it can be reached easily and can last lengthy periods of time. There are other times when it is difficult... even impossible to enter -EXCEPT... through the series of rituals and exercises that I have created for my Self to help "Me" slide into that state slowly... but surely.
My Scotland adventure was simply overwhelming for "Me" physically and spiritually. So many outside factors were "playing against" my desire to paint. By choosing watercolours and pen and ink as my tools to record ... "I" reduced the internal pressure and my own usual desire to become involved in adding detail. "I" made the activity free-flowing by lowering my expectation from "a painting" final product... to a journalistic "sketch". This allowed "Me" to gather ideas and data to support a much more finished record later in the studio.
Upon my return to Canada, it took "Me" a full week of looking at the sketches and reviewing my photo references to finally settle upon a direction for the first painting. A Crail subject was the obvious place to start... simply because that site most excited "Me". In that broad sense... "I" singled out the "moment" that "I" had recorded with my camera... high on the Hen's Ladder... looking down and out to sea as the most memorable moment visually. That prompted my preliminary watercolour/pen and ink sketch at the monitor.... which led a week later to the 30x24 inch toned canvas drawing in vine charcoal. This is the lay in stage after three hours of continuous painting shown in today's post. Canvas filled... nothing final... "possibilities" there for further consideration and development are there for the exploring in today's session... but it is from here that "I" am finally have the final freedom... "to create"... no maps... no sketches... no photos... no preconceived ideas. I have no idea where and when the painting will end.
Yesterday... "I" completed the ritual of setting out the palette of colour early in the morning... in preparation for the start of the lay in process later in the day. Before heading to the easel... I returned coffee in hand... to the reading of my new book; The Artist's Mentor, Ian Jackman , Editor published by Random House. Is is indeed a Mentor... in every sense of the word. I heartily recommend it to anyone needing... wanting... or open to new ideas... from a host of masters and major artists.
Here is a sample of what "You" might expect within its pages:
"The most precious factor in the creative life of an artist in any medium is freedom. Totalitarian, political, or national idelologues that seek to direct or channel the arts are pernicious; they can strangle the work of individual artists and cripple their own culture. They are not, however, the only things that hamper an artist's freedom. It can also be curtailed by commercial conditions of the theaters of aesthetics ordained by various groups, cults, cliques, or "isms". It seems to me that the most damaging restrictions on an artist's liberty are self-imposed. So often what may have begun as fresh thinking and discovery is turned into a routine and is reduced to mere habit. Habits in thinking or technique are always stultifying in the long run. They are also contagious, and when a certain set of habits becomes general, a whole art period can condemn itself to the loss of freedom..."
Food for thought ... for all of "Us"!
I'll post the final painting when complete. Stay tuned,,,,,
Good Painting to ALL!