Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stages of Creation: Part 1

There is much that happens before a painting is completed, posted on my blog and loaded to my website, or various print-on-demand sites. I thought it would be helpful to my clients, those interested in my work, and to other artists to share my creative process with you. Over the next few posts, I will be giving you the step by step process of how I create my art.

Part 1: The Germination Stage

Here you see my desk with many of the tools I use to brainstorm and come up with ideas and compositions. Many times, I already have a picture in my head of what I think I would like to create. Other times, I have no image, but an idea of a theme or a subject. In either case, I need to refine the image or develop the idea into something workable. It is rare that I can actually recreate the images in my mind to my satisfaction, so research helps to develop something more workable.

You can see several books that I reference for ideas. In this case, I have an idea to create a painting based on myths and totemic relationships to the goose. I look at books on folklore, mythic traditions, field guides, and studies in biological behavior. I use the computer to do some additional research (see the pages of notes on the right). I compile all this information and write about it in my journal, which you see in the center. On the left are small thumbnail sketches that pop into my head as I research and write my notes.

In the back are CDs of music that I listen to while brainstorming. Music is a very helpful tool in creating my art. Sometimes music is a direct source of inspiration, like the band Boann's Clan was when I worked on my painting Boann: Transformation of a Goddess. They had a CD that was about the life of Boann. I am not always so lucky to find such perfect music, however, and usually find music that is relaxing and inspiring. Music helps me to set a mood and atmosphere for creation. I often listen to the same music over and over while working on the same piece. No matter what I am doing, or what other jobs that might take me away from working on my art, I can put in the CD and I am right back in the same space I was the day before.

Occasionally, I will stop, do some meditation, and let the information I have gathered interact and merge in my subconscious. This helps with developing images and gives my intuitive side an opportunity to offer input. I am much more interested in allowing the subconscious have a more prominent role in the development of my work. The research I do helps to ground my work and gives it the potential to reach a wider audience. My intuitive side, helps to personalize the gathered information, so that my work remains original.

Lastly, there is a cup of tea. There is little I can do without a pot of tea nearby. Those who know me, know about this minor obsession of mine. It doesn't matter what kind of tea: green, black, white, oolong, etc. Though I do tend toward the blacker, more robust teas at this stage of the creative process. The lighter teas like green and white are more favorable at later stages of creation, as they tend to be less stimulating, and allow me to connect more directly to painting as it is being created.

Next Step: The Growing Stage



Helena said...

In some ways we work the same way. Music can conrtibute so much to the creative process, calling up and integrating subconcious impressions with imagery. (Right now Im listening to vintage Jeff Beck "Brush With the Blues". Tea is important for me too,and lots of reading as well as being outdoors.

Antony Galbraith said...

Oh, yes!
Spending time outside is very important too...usually it becomes more useful in the following stages. However, lately, it has recently become more necessary in my planning stages, as a kind of meditation.

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