Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Routines and Rituals

My life is not routine, regular or rigid. I have no discipline to get out of bed early or for that matter to go to bed early. Sometimes I sleep 12 hours a day and sometimes I am lucky if it is 4. I have always struggled to be a morning person and relish the times, often past midnight, when the creative muse has a grip on me and i go with the flow.

When I start working on a new piece of work I do not pick up a pencil and my sketchbook. No, firstly I start to think. My brain plays out a variety of scenarios, options and directions. I then find myself drawn to images and things in life that are about whatever 'theme' or subject I am thinking about. For example if I am drawing animals then all I see are the animals....everyone does this to some degree. You know that circumstance when you are thinking about buying a car, a red car and then all you see for days are red cars everywhere!

Then the thinking and seeing move onto doodling and sketching on bits of paper, in my sketchbook and on the back of envelopes. i am rather fond of back of envelope drawing. Sketchbooks make me feel pressured to do something nice and polished but scraps of already used paper help me overcome the fear of the blank page.

Then i really start imagining how I will do the brush strokes or move the pen, what patterns I would use, what composition I would follow....this goes against everything I was to taught to do.At college and university the wanted to see the development of ideas on paper - I had to show my sketchbooks and the drawings of my preliminary work. I hated this, always have - how does one capture what one thinks all the time? It is so personal, that journey from A to Z and sharing each step is uncomfortable.

I talk a lot about the ideas in my head with family and friends, nothing too specific but a general dip in the water with creative big toes to get some idea of how the work would be percieved - I don't do this too often as I find that others have different ideas or struggle to understand mine.

Finally I gather up images and colours, infact andything that will help me channel and direct these creative thoughts and I sketch out ideas properly. This whole process can take anything from a few hours to a few months.

Then oneday I sit down and I just do it. It is usually late, everyone is in bed and I work away without fear of distraction or disturbance. However this late night working often means that I am useless during the day because I am tired etc. I do like working when the light is naturally good but to be honest, when the sun is shinning all I want to do is be out doors or to get my home clean and tidy again. Creativity makes me ignore cleaning, tidying up and sometimes even washing myself!

As I have got older I have reconciled myself to the fact that this is the way I work. It is not conventional. It is not easy and it is not sociable.

I found this great artcile in the huffington post - it explains things a bit better than me.