Sometimes I know exactly what kind of art I want to create and exactly how to do it. But most of the time, it's just the opposite.
THE MAKING OF PLANS
Unlike building a house, something which requires careful planning, scheduling, organization, and adherence to safety rules, creative plans could hardly be called "plans" at all. They're constantly in flux. Art often calls for experimentation and learning as you go.
I discovered I'm not alone in this conclusion while working on a collaborative group performance project last summer. When participants were lamenting what felt like mayhem, disorganization, and constant do-overs, the coordinator explained: "We just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks!"
I felt he summed up the creative process very well: you've gotta be flexible. Let the muse lead you, even if you feel like you're blindfolded. (And even if you feel like the muse is blind too!)
The musicians OK GO -known for their uniquely Rube-Goldberg-esque music videos- echoed a similar view in their TED talk "How to Find a Wonderful Idea." Their plans come from creating, not the other way around. The best inspiration is often found in the midst of experimentation.
No project was as frazzling and as enlightening as a recent abstract I completed. Over the course of many months, I tried new mediums and pastes, experimented with unfamiliar techniques, and even broke out the Dremel kit! Take a look:
I knew I wanted texture. With depth. So after applying an even coat of turquoise spray paint, I slathered some Kroma Crackle gel onto the canvas.
Once that was dry (2 days later), shades of blue paint were added, spritzed with a water bottle, and I let the combination flow (guiding it with my brush where necessary.)
I raided my craft bin for more textures. Came across a netted paper that used to be a floral bouquet wrap. Cut that into pieces, and using a simple mix of white glue and water on a brush, delicately attached the purposefully-placed snippets to the canvas, following the crackled edges created earlier.
The piece started looking like an aerial view of an ocean reef. So I decided to try creating waves. In three dimensions. For this I used Liquitex Modeling Paste and a palette knife.
Turned out I didn't like half of the clumps I laid down, so I whipped those waves into shape with sanding tools. Made an awful mess. An awful, glorious mess!
It came time for painting all these yummy textures! I started with shadows. Then highlights. And finally, subtle whisps of sandy browns and moody purples. Make no mistake, after I put the paint on, I took it off, tried different colors, painted over them, and kept working and reworking until the muse was happy!
How it ends
...is rarely how it begins. In art and in life! So rather than frustrate yourself with not knowing every step that's ahead of you, just start creating! You'll figure it out somewhere along the way.
Now that you've had a peek inside my mind...
My favourite part about releasing an abstract piece is hearing all the vastly different interpretations you guys have about it! I get a peek inside YOUR minds. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. What do you see? What does it make you think? Feel?
You can also check out more fan interpretations on this instagram post.