Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Importance of Meanderings

Sometimes I'll imagine something and it will start to hover around my day to day thoughts. Appearing now and then but elusively as if playing hide and seek. I recognize it. It's the start of an idea that has no form yet. It might be the glimpse I had of something interesting, it might be a phrase, or maybe just a striking color combination that caught my eye. It appears and disappears suddenly and then just as suddenly reappears while I'm flipping through a magazine, or driving down the road. Sometimes its while I'm browsing the work of other artists on Flickr or Etsy. It will again register briefly and this time assumes a more opaque form. Then retreats again and I go on. This is how the process of inspiration works for me sometimes. This building through random associations continues until something clicks adn I know how I want to begin to develop this idea into art. It is still unsubstantial in form at this point and I know that sketching even the seed of it or journaling about it's appearances and the connections I've made will help me to define it.

Little meanderings such as these are how great art begins. Some artist refers to it as the muse whispering in their ear. Others attribute it to the universe and synchronicity. Me, I believe it to be God directing me somewhere new. These brief glimpses of thoughts or images often lead me in a direction I might not go otherwise and my art is much richer because of it. So I want to emphasize to you the importance of daydreams, of stranger thoughts that appear out of no where, of the little tiny glimpses of a connection to something greater.Treat them gently and nurture them. Leave them alone if they want for a while, let them grow wild in your subconscious before you attempt to cultivate them. You'll know when you're ready to work with them. It will feel as if you are collecting puzzle pieces and finally have the last one. Then you may start- not before. Your job before is simply to look around and see if you can spot the pieces.

One way I have of keeping the pieces is to post those that are visual on my cork board. This is my collections of lovelies. Things that I love, admire, or simply have a feeling about. This is also the place I pin up unfinished works. I let them reside there and daily I glance at them. These are puzzles without all the pieces. They are waiting until the day that I find that last bit or idea to finish them up. Some of these pieces stay for over a year.

Other lovelies are images with colors I love. Others are bits of art from friends or a magazine photo that sparked the process I described above. I don't know why I keep them but I feel that they will become something some day. So I pin them up. This has the additional bonus of surrounding me with inspirations and things that I love. What could be better?

Many artists have memo boards like this where they pin up bits of fabric or paint swatches. Images of things they love. I didn't know this until I read about it in a magazine. Seems to me if a lot of us are doing it- it must be a pretty effective tool for the artist. So- grab an old corkboard, find a spot you'll look at daily and start your collection of "lovelies". You'll be glad you did!

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