THE CREATIVE PROCESS – STAGES
THE CREATIVE PROCESS
Probably the best-written material on the subject comes from Gram Wallace book The Art of Thought published in 1926. In this book Wallace theorizes that the creative process comes in four stages of creative thinking. The four stages are:
MY THOUGHTS ON THE STAGES OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS
I don’t think that they had jazz and the fast sketch in mind when this was written, so I came up with my own set of stages for the creative process.
For a very long time I have been fascinated by the ability of jazz musicians to create new music on the fly and make it look easy. 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 have heard Happy Birthday played at the Dirty Dog it is in a new form. No one plays it straight. It is approached like like we have never heard it before. Ian Finkelstein wrote a new tune all four days of his Dirty Dog gig. His quartet played each new song as if they were familiar Cole Porter songs. The creative juices are on full display. It is why we come to listen to live music.
Is it magic? Sometimes it is magical. I think, however that it is 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 voice.
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 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. 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
When I am writing this I will be in the South of France. It is a great place to find inspiration…. and good food …and good wine .
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 PROVINCE
Through the years we have been lucky to spend time in other artists homes. I have found plenty of inspiration.
LE BEAUCET, PROVENCE
I am in what I call the first stage of what I will be painting. Finding 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 added to my vision. The wind turns the leaves over and over as the sunlight comes through them. The pace of our lives is slower and we give more of our time to seeing, smelling and hearing nature all around us. This is a wonderful place to 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 or an ugly start on the canvas and 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. For a sure thing, catch the creative jazz at the Dirty Dog.
COMING THIS WEEK TO THE DIRTY DOG
PETE AND WILL ANDERSON