This past Full moon gave me a surge of creative energy and the spark to go on an artistic vision quest of sorts. today is day three and it'll come to an end tomorrow. I was inspired by a few things. I'm watching Genius Picasso on Nat Geo. and the advice Picasso gives to young artists is, "to totally immerse oneself in art is the only way to become an artist." and he talks about Matisse as painting from pure emotion. I also remember reading about a female author who says, "i believe i am worth the time and energy it takes to create." So off i went, with no expectations other than to SEE what came of it.
I had been in a "good" routine of painting from home and creating from my millworks studio but it was still a routine and routines can easily become stagnant. I wanted to see what would come of totally immersing myself in art for four days. What that looked like for me was no t.v, facebook, instagram, very little phone. And if i got bored; books, walks, sitting in the sun, baking, going for a walk, play guitar, play cards. But the majority of my time would be spent painting. After a particularly un-inspiring session this morning I feverishly left the house and went for a walk to clear my head. I felt like i was getting too close to everything. While walking I began getting a flood of insights about this whole vision quest and needed to write these insights down.
The first day I worked on three paintings that were about half way through. I felt in the flow and liked what was happening.
1. if you are excited about your paintings, nothing else matters.
I started seeing my pattern of work. I am very inspired early in the morning and get a lot of great work done then. i get re-inspired around 2pm.
2. you can paint through any emotion or thought.
If im not feeling the spark to create i usually wont. But i learned you can create at any time as long as you allow yourself the time and space to do so. my artist friend Paul says there is never a bad paint session. every session serves a purpose.
3. "bad" paint sessions can always serve as superior under-paintings.
every artist has days where everything they paint is total shit. it can be brutal if you let it but i learned its all part of the process. sometimes you have to loosen up for the real work to begin.
4. watching t.v before bed alters your dreams
my dream world is where i get a lot of my inspiration. by cutting out tv at night and all together for my vision question my dreams returned to being filled with wisdom. I started to notice the past month my dreams were becoming stale and lifeless which is always a sign to me that i need to change something up. re-arrange, get re-inspired.
5. you will always recieve insights if you ask, for me that usually comes through my dreams.
After working on the same piece for awhile i was still unhappy with how the girls face looked. i went to bed last night and asked for advice as to how to finish it. right before waking i heard to 'darken the face', add more shadow on the left side, im talking 10 shades darker, and make her appear as if she's really placed deep in the forest. the first thing i did this morning was darken the left side of her face and it came alive! I also saw in my dreams last night a large painting of a bunch of people i'll be painting, very loose, lots of blues.
6. remember a time you were really in the flow and re-create that.
when i was in highschool i got in the flow by painting deep into the night. i painted from such a pure place then, i was developing my own style and completely un-afraid. i remember thinking that i didnt even know if anyone would see these paintings and that was okay. i wasnt painting for praise i was just painting because it was a part of me. so the paintings im doing during my vision quest im trying to remember that feeling of freedom and newness.
7. music is important
dylan, donovan, morby. all good for me to keep in the flow
8. my only rule as an artist is i have no rules
dont place yourself in a box. i used to only paint with 4 colors; blue, red, yellow and white because i thought it was so symbolic to have to mix every color with every other color to get anywhere but then i was gifted a whole set of magical colors and thought, why the hell did i ever think to use only 4 colors. now i use the whole rainbow.
9. go back to basics
just you, your paints and your heart. you dont need anything external to create, its all within. cutting out excess mindless stuff that takes me away from the essence of who i am has been very beneficial for the creative process. all i need are my dreams, the spirit world and the gifts given to create.
10. let go and allow
the minute i start to force a painting, which has happened a few times during this artistic vision quest, i know that i need to take a step back. some therapeutic things i can do to take a break are cleaning up my studio, changing up artwork in the house, moving to a different space to paint or just taking a break.
Overall witnessing the artistic process has been great. it has helped me to become more present and see what art has to teach me. its also helped me to re-focus and see where and how i want to use my energy. all is truly well and being an artist in this life is a gift in itself. to emerge from this process lighter and brighter with a wealth of new knowledge ive gleaned from this vision quest made me realize why i decided to do it in the first place.