top of page
  • Writer's pictureJOHN OSLER'S UPBEAT Admin



All artists have a unique process that they are comfortable with. When they write their kid a letter or create their life defining masterpiece they begin by realizing that they have something to say. How they get to the finished letter or final version of their masterpiece is what we can call the creative process.

Henry Heading


I have observed that poets, writers, musicians, actors, painters and all other artists are seldom conscious of a deliberate creative process. I do think there are stages that most artists follow.  Over the next few weeks I will once again try to explore them.

CREATIVE STAGES (my version)

I feel the creative process can be broken down into the following four stages. We are constantly exploring, observing, editing our observations and putting our observations into our own words. All of these actions are equally important and affect each other.


This is where the subject is found. We have to make an effort to get out and experience the things around us.


It is important to clearly see those things that we have found. Soak them in.


This is the process when we eliminate and include pieces of information.


This is where we put our personal stamp on our creation.


This is an optional step in the creative process. Sharing the product of the creative process isn’t necessary but can be rewarding in many ways.



SKETCH #4    SPRING 2017


In my thoughts on the four stages of the creative process this final stage is where most of the fun lies.

After artists (1) find a subject (2) use all their senses looking at or listening to all the possibilities, (3) edit to clarify the story, (4) they get to put their stamp on the creation and it becomes uniquely theirs. They can go wild and add dabs of color, twist a phrase or add a new note as long as it is in the artist voice. No one who came into a room and heard  Louis Armstrong or Frank Sinatra would have had to ask who it was. A Woody Allen or Coen Brother movie is pretty easy to spot.

A Van Gogh painting shouts Van Gogh.

A Mark Rothko painting is sublimely a Rothko.


The Detroit Institute of Art has a remarkable example of Mark Rothko’s genius. Simple blocks of color are painted subtly just where they should be. I can spend a lot of time sitting  in front of this paintings wondering how anyone could be so astute.

I get strange stares sometimes from those who have less wonder in such a simple piece of art. Mark Rothko’s paintings are as hard to replicate as are a Van Gogh or Louis Armstrong masterpiece.

Their act of interpreting is when their craft became art.

Artists don’t always set out to insert their individual stamp on their creations. It is just that creating freely is generally allowed, usually encouraged and often liberating.  When you create for yourself you get to do anything you want. I enjoy  art most when I see what the artist wanted to say in his/her work.

Louis Armstrong was uniquely Satchmo

Louis Armstrong was a serious musician and an entertainer. I think we see  the real Louis in his early recordings before he was a public figure. His unique phrasing seemed to make the tunes he played have more meaning. His playing comes straight from his heart to your heart.


France 07 Panosonic 020_edited-1

Artist often have a dilemma. They can have empty pockets and some unpaid bills, they can at the same moment have a personal story to tell and a passion to put their voice in the story. There is only so much time in any day. They could easily make a bunch of stuff to take to market that would be sure sales. Many are driven to remain an artist and hope others will like their story.

When I am in Provence I have often been inspired by friends who are true artists.



While I am in France I spend time with a friend of many years, Pascal Balay. Pascal has supported herself and successfully raised three children with her skill as a potter. Pascal is more than a potter. She is an artist. Her work is uniquely hers, and each piece stands on its own as a work of art. Her spirit comes with the purchase of everything she produces.

Pascal was trained in England, so I can understand her when she talks about her art. She makes it clear that her art is always going to be her art. Even though the potter’s wheel goes round and round in exact circles it is her hands that will create a Pascal Balay piece. There will be no perfect circles nor repetitive color glazes. It will be easy to know whose hands did the work. For Pascal each pot, bowl, plate or platter will be a new adventure. She has a healthy respect for keeping art in her craft. I have spent some time rummaging around her workshop. She has any number of discarded pieces thrown into the bushes and along the studio wall. I would love to own most of her rejects. They are Pascal’s and they are unique and they are special.

France Spring 2006 -3 071

Many artists like Pascal will probably never be wealthy. They will be satisfied with rich lives, lives that they define. The decision not to produce products but to follow your vision has benefits. Among the benefits are the  respect of other artists, users, listeners and viewers. Pascal Balay has always willingly shared her passion with students.


Watching her with eager young potters reminds me of Detroit’s master teachers working with up and coming jazz artists.


I have been fortunate to be around artists at the Dirty Dog Jazz Café who remind me what interpreting sounds like. They remind me that it is OK to express myself. Every artist who shows up at the Dirty Dog comes with a style and an attitude that is his/her own. I usually leave the club inspired.

John Osler


August 14 & 15


Nathan is a multi – talented jazz artist who will bring his saxophone and some similarly gifted friends to the Dirty Dog. He will be a familiar face as he has joined his uncle, Michael Zaporski and Future Visions. Nathan is from Detroit, so don’t be surprised if he shows us some new things that he knows we will enjoy..

Nathan Zaporski

August 16 & 17


“Graced with an “impeccable” voice (Winnipeg Free Press) and hailed as an artist that “may well turn out to be the next important jazz singer” by the LA Times, Sara Gazarek has been one of the leading lights of an impressive generation of jazz vocalists since her brilliant emergence at age 20. From the outside, her subsequent career has been the picture of success: five acclaimed albums, an ardent fanbase, enthusiastic reviews, and opportunities that have taken her around the world, leading to thrilling collaborations with some of her most respected and celebrated peers.”


0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page