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Keith Russell
08-06-2003, 11:55 AM
Good morning.

I was actually able to head to the studio about 8:30 last night, which I figured would give me about 4 hours to work, before I headed off to dreamland. Instead, I spent the time filing a few reference photos, piddled around with a couple of drawings (nothing serious), put away a few CDs, and wrote in my journal. (Basically, I did everything but work productively on art.)

I actually stayed up 'til almost 2:30 AM, but still couldn't focus on anything constructive. I kept thinking that I was 'out of ideas', that I needed to come up with a bunch of new concepts--and fast--or I'd have nothing to work on when my two current in-progress pieces were finished.

This morning, I sat down and wrote a list of all my planned painting ideas, and I was stunned. Nine paintings! I don't need any new ideas right now; the pressure is off.

Now I can concentrate on developing some of the ideas I already have, (which often leads to brand new ideas, anyway), rather than beating myself up, thinking that I'm out of ideas.

In my old studio, I kept a list of 'painting ideas' over my drafting table, but in my new studio (the third bedroom in our apartment), I didn't make a new list when I moved everything home.

I have my list now...and it's going up on the wall as soon as I get home. (I'm at work right now...)

It is so often said that art needs to be spontaneous, and that reason and logic (and organization, too) are the enemies of creativity. But, I (at least) paint better, and I am far more productive, when I'm fairly well organized. (It's not that I can't remember, I mean I re-wrote my 9-painting list this morning from memory. It's that I don't remember, when I'm stuck on an incorrect thought. I need an external reminder.)

Otherwise, I waste a lot of time worrying about stuff that--more often than not--has already been resolved.

Maybe this'll help someone. If not, you've wasted enough time reading it.

Now, get back to work!

K

timelady
08-08-2003, 03:44 PM
I agree wholeheartedly Keith! I keep a list too. Sometimes I write it in my filofax, sometimes in my sketchbook. Which is also a sort of planner for me. Half my sketchbook is sketches and half is wall plans for exhibitions (why do things never quite fit? or you just need an extra foot of wall?), price lists for galleries, etc. Some days I just need to do these planning type things to sort out my head. :) Inventory lists of paintings in all sizes is my favourite 'waste time' activity.

Tina.

Keith Russell
08-08-2003, 04:08 PM
Tina, thanks.

I'm glad there was finally a response to this!

K

DanaT
08-08-2003, 07:02 PM
Keith, How could I miss this? :)

There's a book, Organization for the Creative Person. I want to take a look at that.

Actually today, I had an unfocused day in terms of creativity. But I accept the lulls as incubating periods even though at the time, it seems nothing is going to hatch from it.

And lists :) I love lists!

Rose Queen
08-08-2003, 08:23 PM
<--- hates lists because they only have to be prioritized after you make them... :p

I'm reading the Van Gogh Blues by Eric Maisel right now and, synchronistically enough, I just read a chapter in it that was all about doing this sort of thing instead of actually creating. We've all been there, Keith, but you've really made some headway against it by making your list of things you want to paint. Just make sure that next time you head into the studio, you don't get distracted by tidying up, etc.! :evil:



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Keith Russell
08-08-2003, 09:03 PM
Rose, I'm almost done 'tidying up', and--finally--twenty years of paperwork will have either been categorized and filed, or tossed out.

As for lists, I never stick to them, but they are a great starting point.

And, without a starting point, I find I can spend hours staring off into space, with no idea where the time went...

K

artgorillagal
08-08-2003, 09:40 PM
Congratulations on catching up Keith! I hope to do that also some day (but doubt it). Your working method sounds a lot like my working method as well as the old "I'll never ever have another idea for art" and then tons appear! Oh boy! Well, I do keep a journal/sketchbook/diary kind of like Frida Kahlo but messier and less artistic ;-) In my sketchbook I mostly free-associate like "Less literal? Try and abstract the narrative" etc. and I do a quick sketch (less than a minute) to place the *object* or *concept* with words to accompany such as "Add zippers? Maybe weave them with flowers?" or other possible ideas. Then I go back and read the entries and date the sketch such as 7-2-2003 "stupid idea - not working" or 8-5-2003 "make the water red and do NOW!"

This works well for me because I am often surprised to see the beginning of a series when it was just a pathetic sketch from my head and also - sometimes I find and paint ideas I had totally forgotten about! But, I do think that the process of art will include things such as reading, cleaning supplies, and mostly - staring at a painting that is just-not-working. I consider that all part of my own process.

DanaT
08-08-2003, 10:25 PM
Scarlett,

You should check the sketch thread in the Drawing forum. A few of us are posting our daily sketches to keep us sketching and motivated.\

artgorillagal
08-08-2003, 10:29 PM
Thanks! I'll do that. I've never been to the Drawing forum. But... I don't keep a daily sketch in my book. Wish I did but I'm not organized enough. I'm pretty good with every 2 weeks.

Keith Russell
08-09-2003, 09:59 AM
Scarlett said: "This works well for me because I am often surprised to see the beginning of a series when it was just a pathetic sketch from my head and also - sometimes I find and paint ideas I had totally forgotten about! But, I do think that the process of art will include things such as reading, cleaning supplies, and mostly - staring at a painting that is just-not-working. I consider that all part of my own process."

I keep files of all the sketches that have gone on to become paintings. Every now and then I'll look through those and find a sketch in the margin, or a portion that wasn't used in the final painting, and those 'extras' can become the basis for new drawing that often become paintings in their own right.

Yeah, 'down time', time spent starting at the wall, or at the work-in-progress, or thumbing through the latest copy of ArtNews, seems to be part of the process--though try explaining that to my wife!

K

O'Connor
09-25-2003, 04:01 PM
Organization gets in my way in a similar way. If I start organizing stuff, picking up, etc., it's a sign that I'm actively avoiding the creative process.

I'm not 100% sure why I do this.
It may be that I'm anal about finishing something I start. (Or psycho-anal about NOT starting something out of FEAR I won't finish it.)

It may be that I'm insecure about my capability to produce what's in my head. (Almost none of it is ever as good as it is in my head!)

If I want to "create", I must police myself. I must avoid any and every preperatory step that I can, and jump ahead to "Start".

I find that once I start, once I have several wet brushes, some color dashed on a canvas, and a palette full of paint, I can keep going, often doing the "organizing" stuff as I work.

I have numerous WIPs, as you might imagine. Sometimes I lose interest, sometimes I'm disappointed with their progress, sometimes I'm stuck on what to do with a piece next, or to finish it off.

I think I get emotionally attached to the creation process, and don't want it to end.
Then I would have to accept my works as finished pieces, not WIPs. Then I would KNOW that they won't improve from that time on.

This way, there's always hope. Maybe there's something in this...
"painting" could be considered a present-tense verb...

taffetta
09-26-2003, 10:14 AM
Originally posted by Keith Russell


I'm glad there was finally a response to this!

K [/B]
ahh, everyone else took you at your word, and went off to be productive.....here endeth the lesson.....;)

funny, (well not funny but...) if i'm the one doing anything but getting on with something productive, its either because i'm actively running away from something that's not going well, or because things are stewing round in my head.
i keep notes ( i've learned to otherwise i forget things) in a sketchbook that i carry everywhere, notes on notepad, notes in a filofax ( no, i'm not that organised, i bought it for my sister at christmas, and she told me - best french accent a la holy grail - ahve alreddy gat wan...) so i thought i may as well use it), and notes i stick on one of the walls in my studio ( spare bedroom), or pictures of things, or postcards, they don't actually help me to come up with new stuff, more as a kind of visual stimulant.

going to take your advice now and go be annoyed by a painting..

Stoy Jones
09-26-2003, 01:50 PM
Originally posted by Keith Russell



This morning, I sat down and wrote a list of all my planned painting ideas, and I was stunned. Nine paintings! I don't need any new ideas right now; the pressure is off.



Lol, story of my life :D. I'm always thinking ahead rather than in the now.

Stoy