Sometimes people ask where do you find your motivation or your ideas. The truth is I don’t. I just work and the paintings emerge. For me, having a dedicated studio space is HUGE. In the same way that being on a yoga mat allows me to “drop in” to meditation, being in my art studio allows me to “drop in” to my work. The place is a trigger for the action. And, the parallel doesn’t end there. Painting is a kind of meditation that quiets my busy mind. Sometimes I arrive and feel as though I won’t be able to create, that I have no ideas, but once I start, I can work because much of my painting is about responding to what is in front of me and watching what happens when I move the paint on the canvas or board this way or that. It is a very reactive process, preserving parts of what happen and covering others.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days where it feels hard to get started and to help with that I have a variety of sizes of canvases and cradled wooden boards. Sometimes a particular size and shape calls to me. Sometimes I look at the tubes of paint and see a color that I want to use, or a combination of colors that seem exciting. Sometimes nothing speaks to me and I just start, because once I start a conversation with myself about this shape or that color begins. As long as I have something to react and respond to, there is work to be done. Some days the work is meh, and the magic doesn’t come, other days I put down too many ideas making the canvas too busy. Both can be frustrating, but I try not to worry because even those false starts can serve as under paintings for future pieces. I really never know where the spark will come from; I just trust that it will. Sometimes I even clean up and reorganize older canvasses a bit to find an idea. Sometimes a piece that was “finished” looks wrong somehow and seems as though it needs another layer, or a more polished edge on that one part over there. Sometimes a piece stays in its “finished” form for quite a while before I suddenly see what I want to change or add. Believe it or not, this is the same painting.
You might even prefer it in its earlier “finished” version. I actually displayed it in my August 2016 solo exhibition in its earlier iteration, but after the show it kept calling to me that something wasn't right, that it was too busy and had too much going on. One day I just put it back on my easel and this new piece emerged. It feels exactly right to me now.
So back to the question about how I find motivation or ideas. Most days just showing up is enough. Once I get going I drop into “the zone”. And I trust myself to allow my paintings to come into being.