Inspiration perspiration

Recently I read an article debunking a few of the myths of creativity. I felt moved to add my two pence worth as I felt today illustrated it.

First off I hate the term 'creatives' it smacks of elitism to me. 'We are the elite creatives, and you must bask in our ergonomically designed glow.' I thought I'd walk and type you through a typical day in my life, and let you in on a secret.

Today was a typical one for me I spent about 1 hour and a half creating work that I either hated outright or worse still felt nothing for. I started out trying to paint an abstract that used tapered lines. The lines were organic in form. I was using a limited pallet of warm hues with a little ultramarine blue thrown in for accents. It felt leaden and clumsy and looked worse. Just because I like them, I painted some large teeth across it, with a view to having the image appear like its been eaten. A nice enough idea but I wasn't buying it today. So with building frustration I began adding white and scrapping back the image. I wrote the work off and began to just experiment and try ideas out. Some of my work uses lettering and I had some old old old poems kicking around so I took a thin brush and began transcribing the poem on to the work. The image is here.

   It's the word cloud balloons my shadow fears, 10” x 7”, oil on oil painting paper.

It's the word cloud balloons my shadow fears, 10” x 7”, oil on oil painting paper.

Whilst finishing this work I remember the a story I heard about the Torah. That it was written by White fire falling on black fire.

'Yet, the Talmud (Menachot 29a) rules that every letter in a Torah scroll must be completely surrounded by parchment. This requirement is called mukaf gevil. In other words, the white parchment around the letters is an integral part of the Torah; without it, the Torah scroll is disqualified. In fact, the white space is a higher form of Torah. It is analogous to the white fire of Sinai — a sublime, hidden Torah that cannot be read in the usual manner.'

So running with this idea of the space around the letters being as important if not more important I used an other poem and worked for a new piece. I started of using white for the script but it was to difficult to see so I changed to grey. My focus was to make the background, the void, if you will more important than the text using colour. I don't know if I have succeeded in that but I did produce a piece of work that I like and feel has meaning.

   Landdrapery, 10” x 7”, Oil on Oil Painting paper.

Landdrapery, 10” x 7”, Oil on Oil Painting paper.


This was not done by sitting around staring at a blank canvas for hours. It was done by working through a block. By getting busy doing my mind was freed from having to worry about what I should paint, and could get on with the business of smashing ideas together and riffing off the results.

Inspiration is working, working, working. If you want to be a writer, sculptor, painter or create handbags for ants, then the key is to just do it. For however long you can manage. Grab a minute here grab a minute there. The Wachowski's had to film their chase scene in Jupiter Rising in 6 minute sections. Full details in the Io9 interview.

If you've read this far congratulations you are now the proud owner of an invisible, massless, painting that I have just left outside your door. Night.