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
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’ve always been fascinated by the parallels between art-making and life. So much of what I observe in the creative process applies to problem-solving and decision-making in general. Lately I’ve been reading about the creative process of other artists in Maria Popova’s fantastic blog, Brain Pickings and Joe Fig’s book, Inside the Painter’s Studio. The common and unwavering theme from artist to artist, author to author is just show up and do the work. Keep at it until you break through. Chilean American author, Isabel Allende frames it so well: “Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too. If she doesn’t show up invited, eventually she just shows up.”
When you ‘hit the wall’ in the creative process – and also the normal problem solving process – it hurts! It’s that uncomfortable place my friend describes as feeling restless. I describe it as a scratchy feeling – kinda like a tortoise flipped onto its shell and struggling to right itself. Not a nice place to be.
It turns out it’s a really good place to be. Jonah Lehrer describes in Imagine: How Creativity Works that “hitting the wall” happens when your brain has exhausted all the obvious solutions, gone down all “the usual” thinking paths and come up short. Hitting the wall should be a welcome event because it’s only then that the brain starts making unusual associations, looking around corners and into dark seldom used places to find solutions. This greatly increases your chances of coming up with a creative solution.
Bring on the wall!