Swimming in the ocean of life, so to speak, it sometimes feels as
though we must use every bit of energy to keep our heads above the waves. Over
many years we have developed some techniques that help us to shed the heavy
seaweed and barnacles of the daily thoughts that occupy our minds, and step
onto the shore where our creative minds can play.
|Peace on the River by John Hulsey, oil painting.
I imagine that to most people, artists are able to
simply tap into their creativity as one would turn on a tap for water--always
available at a moment's notice. Anyone in the creative field knows that
artistry must be cultivated, practiced, and exercised regularly if it is to
thrive and prosper, much like an athlete must slowly build up ability in order
to reach the Olympics. Art needs space and time to grow, and so, many of us
have created spaces, little corners in the house or full-fledged studios where
we can shut out the traffic of life and give voice to our inner worlds. We have
found that these physical spaces, whether large or small, are absolutely
essential to the practice of art-making.
Inspiration can come from simply diving into our
work--whether pencil sketch drawing, writing or shaping clay. Many times, it is this
intensely occupied conscious mind that allows the creative insights of the
subconscious to bubble up to the surface. When that happens, it is often
described as a "flash" of inspiration, but in reality is the natural result of
creating the proper environment, both physically and mentally, for our creative
minds to do their job.
So how does one make the mind quit worrying about
bills or family and turn to peaceful, creative thoughts, just like that? Much like
the practice of meditation, it takes a disciplined regular schedule and lots of
practice. There are so many distractions and details of living to attend to
that the mind can get overwhelmed by the clamoring thoughts that can easily
drown out the quiet messages from deep within. We must develop a positive
mental attitude towards ourselves and our work, and shut out those nagging
thoughts of inadequacy or public indifference, maintaining at the same time,
the ability to see our work clearly and objectively in order to grow as
artists. As in all good things, balance seems to be the key.
Please join us on The
Artist's Road for more
interesting articles, interviews and step-by-step painting demonstrations.
--John and Ann