MAY 15 THE CREATIVE PROCESS
We all watch as another guy steps up and adds to the first guy’s thoughts. Soon they are joined by others who move the groove in a new direction. Each time I hear Happy Birthday played at the Dirty Dog it is in a new form. No one plays it straight. It is approached like we have never heard it before. Bands that play a club like the Dirty Dog know that they will be free to wander from the conventional play list. They will have a chance to try out a new tune. Last year Ian Finklestein wrote a new tune each night and played it in the evening. The band somehow plays each new song as if it were a familiar Cole Porter song. At times like this the musician’s creative juices are on full display. This is why we chose to listen to live music.
Sometimes it is magical. I think, however, that it is more a result of preparation, and from that preparation comes the confidence to joyfully go down new paths. They have mastered the creative process.
They first found a story they wanted to tell. They understood the depth of the story. They then constructed the story so that it was clear to them and could be shared. Then they told it in their own unique voices.
All creative artists suffer through a creative process.
I have observed that poets, writers, musicians, actors, painters and all other artists are seldom conscious of their deliberate creative process. I do think there are definite stages most artists follow. Over the next few weeks I will try to explore them.
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 and 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.
FIRST STAGE: EXPLORE
GETTING OUT AND EXPERIENCING THE THINGS AROUND YOU
When I am writing this I will be in the South of France. It is a great place to find inspiration. good food, good wine and some wind.
The beginning of a creative act comes from the artist’s personal journey. Everything in ones life prepares that person to make something out of it. We accumulate piles of subject matter as we go along living our lives. Some people can create from looking out the window of their favorite room if they have a passion for that view. I tend to search outside the familiar.
AT THE MOMENT I AM IN PROVENCE
Through the years we have been lucky to spend time in other artists homes where I have found plenty of inspiration.
LE BEAUCET, PROVENCE
Jean Castan’s equally magical home
I am in the first stage of exploring – the getting out of your chair stage. This will be the time that I stumble on the the subject or direction that I will be taking. I left Detroit with the idea that I will be painting large canvases filled with movement and color. The motion of the trees, fields and vines as the strong clear winds of the mistral sweeps through them has always captured my imagination.. The wind turns the leaves over and over as the sunlight comes through them. While we are here the pace of our lives becomes slower and we give more of our time to seeing, smelling and hearing nature all around us. This is a wonderful place to explore and create.
In the coming weeks, I will begin to paint in a friend’s atelier and keep you posted. When I start to paint I often stand back and spend a lot of time looking at an empty canvas. I will often stop and wipe out an ugly start. Sometimes find myself staring out in space. Is this staring at my empty canvas part of my creative process? I think so. I will find out.
JAZZ AND EXPLORATION
I will miss my time listening to live jazz. Jazz music is in a constant stage of exploration. The music is a result of the artists getting out of their comfort zone and discovering the joy of exploration. To fully understand jazz and exploration you just have to listen.
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG
May 17 – May20