To Bless the Space Between Us – by John O’Donohue … extract from: For the Artist at the Start of the Day shared with my by my friend, Deborah Rossouw
May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,
To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,
Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved
Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins
To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart
In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard, that calls space to
A different shape.
May it be its own force field
and dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light
“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.”, Twyla Tharp, Choreographer
Painting is like a two-way conversation. The artist contributes to it by adding paint or a line, taking something away, tweaking, moving.
The canvas replies by letting you know what it needs and what isn’t working.
It’s a back and forth. Back and forth.
One of the goals in my art is to achieve the delicate balance between calm and having enough on the canvas to sustain interest. I envision ultimately, large areas of calm in my work. But why is it so hard to achieve?
You would think it’s easier to do nothing than to fill that nothingness with something of beauty. Not for me.
Calm is scary if you’re not in its habit. It’s like that silence in conversations that makes us awkward. Yet we also long for periods of silence. I would say we even need silence.
Right now I’m working with “degrees of calm.” I’m not ready for blank calmness and I may never be. But I can do less and that is a degree of calm.
April Gornick says: “Great art should be vulnerable to interpretation. It shouldn’t be a fixed thing.” That’s why I love contemporary art, because it’s so undefined.
I read an artist’s comment (unfortunately I didn’t note who said it) that’s proven true in my own practice: “Paint a lot. Just get in your studio and make something, even if it’s crap. Finish it them make something else. Don’t just wait for inspiration, Creative thoughts come while you’re creating.”
I’m really glad to be part of the ArtsALLY online community. They launched today with the noble mission of bringing local original art into the local market. Bye bye to the art prints market, hello original art on more walls!
People think that my hobby (making abstract art) is fun. It’s not. It’s darned hard work. In fact, if it were a paying job I’d probably resign! It’s absolutely true to say that my day job is less of a slog than painting. Yet I keep doing it and no one is forcing me so I’ll shut up before it sounds like I’m complaining!
I’ve learned that what Chuck Close says is absolutely true: “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work”
I didn’t realize that titling your art is so important. Here’s why: Titling gives the artist an additional opportunity to provide more context or insight for the work. But there is a danger that the artist can push the viewer in his or her desired direction for interpretation through the title. As an abstract artist I want the viewer to make what they will out of the work – not what I want them to think.
Using “untitled” is not recommended – it leaves the viewer in a vaccuum and if you’re lucky enough to sell the painting and the gallery calls and says “We sold Untitled 6” are you going to know what painting it was? So titles act as a referencing system for the artist, too.
I’m a Sudoku fan and I think part of it is because my brain loves to be challenged (certainly not because I’m good with numbers…on the contrary!). But that’s the interesting thing about our brains – they like to figure things out for themselves. The experience a viewer has of a piece of art should allow them the opportunity to read into it – make sense of it for themselves, whether it’s abstract or realistic. April Gornick says: “Great art should be vulnerable to interpretation. It shouldn’t be a fixed thing.” It’s the mystery that draws the viewer in.