acts of art 12 ~ Margaret Atwood

Maggie Atwood, author  Canada’s national treasure and a personal muse. Her novels, along with Leonard Cohen’s songs and poems, have been the words and soundtrack of my life since arriving in Canada in 1966.

What Ms. Atwood says about her creative process relates, of course, to writing. I think we can all translate her words into our own artistic language.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood  (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher and environmental activist. She has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children’s books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction.

Thanks to Wikipedia for bio.

acts of art 11 – Ira Glass

It was only last year one of my sons turned me on to Ira Glass and This American Life on PBS.  When I tell this to people they politely ask which rock I’ve been living under.

Since then I’ve been addicted to the Ira Glass PBS podcasts so imagine my delight when I discovered this video.

If you are not a writer you can exchange his word “story” for whichever acts of art you call home. I believe that everything he shares in this video can be applied to everyone’s creative process.

It’s fast and true for me, how about you?

acts of art 10 ~ Njideka A. Crosby

 

In this series of posts I am exploring the creative process, mainly in the visual arts but also in writing and music.

I research and listen to a great many artists talking about their work and what goes on in their heads and hearts as they create. I am fascinated by the wide variety of approaches but also by how similar many of those approaches are. For instance one thing I hear again and again is the idea and feeling that the work ‘knows’ what it wants to be and we need only let go of the idea that we are in control to allow fruition.

“You work until you disappear…” phillip guston

I know this completely, through aeons of experience. I understand the initiation rituals of preparation, the getting to know you period, like meeting someone new who you hope will be a friend and reveal worlds yet unseen. In this way I slowly bond with the new work as if it were a sentient being. This is often seen by non artists and more linear artists than me as absurd anthropomorphism. Well, I do what I need to do. I talk to my art which I suppose is akin to talking to myself. It’s been this way for decades and has worked for me.

My blogging community, you, are almost all creative artists in your own particular field. Does what I’ve written ring any bells in you?

I have met and read and listened to artists who approach their work completely differently than me. We have food fights and argue all night but mostly we quote Rumi and drink red wine:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

acts of art 7 ~ Happy Little Clouds

“I believe, I believe everyday is a good day when you paint.

I believe, I believe It’ll bring a lot of good thoughts to your heart.”

 

This Remix honours Robert Norman Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995.) R.I.P.

We made fun of you Bob but with love in our hearts. Your T.V. presentations were always so delightfully weird and I confess I can’t stand your painting style. But I also have to accept that you charmed thousands into picking up a brush to try their hand at painting and who can say how far those ripples spread? Who can say how many you inspired to discover paint, explore and expand their creative limitations.

You mostly taught process through  your own inimitable technique, how to re-present one particular version of the real. However, at the same time, you also brought a philosophy of joy into the act of art that spoke to so many who needed to hear what you had to offer.

Thank you Bob.

P.S. ~ I invite you to visit my latest art at my portfolio site:  http://www.johnclinockart.com

 

 

 

acts of art 6 ~ Gina Stepaniuk

 

I love this video, how Gina’s words and art process are woven together so brilliantly.

I hear what she is sharing about the creative process and I connect on all levels with all  senses. So much of this is universal.

What Gina says echoes my own experience. How about you?

acts of art 4 ~selfportraitclinock

sp-with-circ_2

These are the words that circle the above Self Portrait in circular mirror:

“In the mirror my name is lost in canyons of colour. Thoughts and feelings dissolve in shadows and light. Memories become texture and line. My fingers dance to the drums of the Fathers and the chanting of the Mothers. Night spirits whisper and call and the shaman of the sun sings music that swells inside. Flesh dissolves into rainbows of light. Rich and pulsing darkness purrs upon impossible edges of skin, the illusion of my beginning and ending. I fly in eagles and glide cold depths in the bellies of whales. I am in the tall pine, the voices of the Mothers and the hands of the beater of drums. Proudly I move to the drum. Within this circle of incantation and musty magic I am dancer, warrior and magician and my spirit is straight and true. I look into my eyes and each orb becomes a universe. The stranger in this circumference of glass  guides my hand and I dissolve again into marks moving across paper deserts. I know this language, always becoming, between the stars and the deepest cave of my heart. It speaks of coming home again. It speaks of walking this world proudly and in beauty”.

~~~~~~

I couldn’t do a series like this without including thoughts on my own process, and this won’t be the only time I do so because every day I change my shape.

Above is a Self Portrait made from my reflection in a circular mirror a very long time ago. I wrote the words that frame the drawing as I worked. At the time I was strongly influenced by north west coast indigenous shamanism.

If you have ever seriously immersed yourself in making a self portrait you understand what a profound and enlightening experience it is. The words I wrote are a fragment of everything I felt, thought and grokked during that evening:

I disappeared and re-emerged a hundred times. I went from the shyness of looking myself in the eyes for more than a second to total absorption beyond time and any face I could call Me. I passed through ‘this’, a reflection of me, to total objective observation of certain colours, forms and human features, my name and identity long forgotten. I was visited by ancestors, dead friends and lovers. I walked away and made tea and returning discovered everything had changed.

My head didn’t fit…

I have made a few other self portraits before and since. The process is too intense for me to do often.  Each time I meet myself is part punching bag, part deja vu and part ‘oh far out I’ve never been down this rabbit hole before’.

pie-rat

Then there are the self portraits that are out of nowhere and off the wall. They crack me up every time and I am always grateful for their reminding of that pirate / clown / trickster side of who I think I am.

Laughter is so excellent.

~~~~~~

Words and art by Clinock.

Image 1: Self Portrait in circular mirror with text.  Diam, with text, 12 in. Chalk pastel, conte and black pen.

Image 2. Self Portrait as Pie-Rat. 18 x 14 in. Acrylic on canvas.