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Friday, January 23, 2015

Letter to a friend part 2 (contd)

My dear friend. Good to hear from you and that you are keeping up to speed.
Plastic is covering your terracotta floor and the six canvases are spaced out perfectly; nice photos you sent me, thanks.
You tell me that the two days in which you were forbidden to enter your studio sparked off imaginings of actually being in it; of making it beautiful and inspirational. That is good, becauseyou have primed yourself to be positive and loving and it takes us to the next, and very important stage..
So, let's go!
Grab a cushion from the kitchen and in you go. Sit in a favoured corner and just absorb the space, every single inch of it until you feel that your eyes and mind have acquainted themselves fully.
Then get up slowly and begin to walk around and between the prepared canvases, almost as if you are walking though a maze.
And this will happen. All sorts of thoughts and plans and ideas will begin to spark off in your mind but as they do so, you must release them. Just keep on walking around and letting these thoughts drift away as at the moment they serve no purpose.
There are no time factors here because you are entering timelessness and need only to continue drifting around the canvases and into every part of your studio.
There will come a time, within this no time, when you will suddenly realise that you are absolutely present. Well, we have talked about this before, so you know what I mean. It is a sort of nowness, if you will, where separateness dissolves and thoughts and schemes and ideas let go of their grip and where we become conscious (in the true meaning of the word).
It is a feeling of belonging. (as opposed to non-belonging...more of this next time).Your new studio belongs to you and you belong to it, but it is more than that, it is as if the two elements have become one, it is that sort of feeling.
So, when this happens, even if it is just for a short period (you see in timelessness this does not matter), just simply return to you cushion in the corner, close you eyes and breath this feeling until it seems enough for now.
That's it!
Go and make yourself a coffee (or, knowing you, a herbal tea). No biscuits though.
Email me when you have got this far and we will continue on this creative journey.
BUT, in the meantime no ideas or images for your six canvases must enter your mind. OK?
And don't ask me why not because you know I won't tell you.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Creativity; letter to a friend. Part 2

My dear friend,
So now you have your new house and a studio space, and you ask 'What's next?'
Well, the practical part is easy, so let's talk about that. Then you're grounded, so to speak.
Buy a sheet of thick clear plastic and cover the whole of your studio floor, taping around the edges so it doesn't kick up or allow any damage to flooring underneath.
Then when you are in town, buy some canvas at you Art Suppliers. This usually comes in widths of 1.5 cm, so buy 4.5cm in length.
Have them cut this into squares of 75cm (so six in all) and drive back home, wishing you'd bought some paint too. But be patient, that comes later.
So, when you are in your studio, tape the six squares to the plastic covering, spaced 1.5 metres apart.
Then leave your studio, close the door and do not return for two whole days.

To be contd... (in two days time) ;O)

at Starstone

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Creativity; a letter to friends.

Emerging from the Festive Fog with a chest infection, I am reckoning the one is caused by the other i.e. the chest infection caused by the Festive Fiasco, not the other way round which would be rather implausible. Unless Father Christmas himself had suddenly recovered from an infection of the right lung and was able to get Rudolph onto his feet and get on out there
The above doesn't make any sense I know but it is just to paint a picture of my current state of being; grim!
All this coincides with correspondence from two dear friends who are asking me about creativity; specifically how to slip into it and start producing work.
Of course I know the answer and have endeavoured all my life to adhere to the maxim 'If you don't do it, you can't teach it' So I shake off the mental sloth which is currently haunting me after these ten days of inactivity and lock myself in my studio and start work on four paintings, coughing and spluttering all the while. And then the same old magic kicks in. The everyday takes a step back (and then disappears from my head) and I re-enter that parallel world which works by itself with me as a sort of co-conspirator.
I fuel up too with quotes from favourite artists. Here's one from Sean Scully..
An artists may have a vivid memory of his completed works, but there's little clarity in advance “I’m not in control of it: I don’t know how a painting is going to come out. For decades, I never used green in a picture, and suddenly I’m using it all the time. But I’m really not conscious of making those decisions.
Hmm, that hits it right on the nose. So of course we make the first mark. Read this gorgeous advice from Van Gogh..
 “Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, “You can’t do a thing.” The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of ‘you can’t’ once and for all by getting to work and painting.”
There you are then, my friends, you have learned the magic secret 'Stop coughing and spluttering about all the things you can't do and just get on with it, because the painting will tell you what it wants just as soon as you let go of you' Got it?
It's a good idea to keep a sacred book where you can keep all such little treasures (and it must be a beautiful book by the way).
I would add to this, if I might be so bold, that it is a good habit to make marks every day; finger splodges, scratches. Anything which links hand an eye to the creative flow which is hovering nearby on standby
I'll finish this compendium of quotes by one from the artist Teresita Fernandez whom you can learn more about by clicking on her name.
' For some inexplicable reason, we seem to believe most strongly not in the actual formal lessons, but rather in those details that get into our heads without our knowing exactly how they got there. Those pivotal lessons in our lives continue to work on us in subtle, subterranean ways.'

And I'll leave you with a this photograph of a hill above Assisi, in the mountains of St Francis where we run, as of course you know dear friends, our workshops over the summer months.