I have been busy getting all of my new art ready for the Studio Tours. It is exciting, yes, but also exhausting. I am a little stressed that I won't be ready for people to descend upon my studio. Nevertheless, I am going to go ahead and invite you all to come and visit me!!! I WILL be ready, it just doesn't feel that way right now. The Studio Tours are this coming weekend, the 24th and 25th of October, from 9 to 5 pm. If you are nearby, and interested in coming for a visit, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send you directions to our house. I will have three other artists and their work here, in addition to my own. For more information about the tours, visit the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council website here, or the Hwy62 Art Tours website here.
Last week, Patricia asked me if I could share with you what I think about when I paint. I have been pondering this question ever since it was posed to me. It is not an easy question for me to answer, because the process of painting for me is so intuitive. I suppose when I begin to paint, there are all kinds of thoughts that sift through my mind. I never have a clear picture in my mind of what I want the painting to look like when I begin. I know some artists do. I usually do not. Sometimes, I have a feeling or an idea in my mind. However, there is no clear vision of what I am going to paint. I find this approach to be exciting and compelling. I have a process, or maybe a ritual, before I begin to paint. It is a series of steps that I take to help me reach almost a meditative state. I have found that my best work happens when I am NOT thinking. At least, when I am not allowing my rational, chattering mind to be the instigator of my marks. It is better when I am almost unaware of what is happening, on a conscious level. I remember once reading about East Asian calligraphers, and their process for preparing the ink before practicing calligraphy. This has been years ago, and I am sorry if this is inaccurate, but what I remember was that the process of grinding the inkstick into liquid ink was a slow, methodical process that helped the calligrapher prepare his or her mind for doing calligraphy. It was after reading about this process that I decided to develop a process of my own.
When I paint, I always listen to music. The music is like the string that holds a strand of pearls together. It is the unifying force in a painting - leading me from one stroke to the next. I don't really think of myself as being in charge of what happens on the canvas. I am more like a spectator. This probably sounds rather far-fetched, but this is exactly how it feels to me when I have reached the state of consciousness that produces my most inspired work. Other creative people have referred to this kind of inspiration as "the muse" or the divine force. I suppose it could be whatever you want to call it. If you have ever experienced it for yourself, than you will know what I am talking about. It is a wonderful state to be in, because everything else in the world seems to slip away. I lose track of time, I stop thinking about worries, what I have to do tomorrow, what I have to do today; anything that might wander through my mind normally is just pushed aside. I like to think that a part of this feeling can be conveyed in the finished painting. If you asked me what I wanted to convey in my art, I would say that I want it to be the kind of thing you could look at to help you forget about your cares. I am interested in creating art that lifts the spirit, much in the way I feel my spirit lifted when I listen to my favorite music. (I once thought if I could paint a painting as powerful and beautiful as Handel's Messiah, I would really have done something. I think about that as being my ultimate goal as an artist.)