Welcome to the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This collaborative project aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. For links to the sites of the participating artists, please click here.
Today's question comes courtesy of Debbie Mihalik: How do you get your creative groove? The following is the second of four posts to answer this question.
Valerie Foster Well, that varies at any given time. Mostly because I never know when I will BE in my "creative groove", and greatly inspired to do art. It seems to be very unpredictable, and never a steady or dependable thing. But when I need inspiration to get me going, I do a number of things. I visit art blogs, and art websites, and view other artist's work. I pull out books from my personal library, or check out books from my local library, and pour over them, hungry for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, I pull out my own art that I have here at home, and study and admire that. Or prowl online for interesting tutorials of technics I haven't done, and am not familiar with. Mostly, when I'm in "the groove", it happens spontaneously more often than not. And it's not something I can predict. I sorely wish I could turn it off an on at will, but that hasn't been the case for me as an artist. Is it that way for most artists, or any artists? It's a sincere question from me, because sometimes I feel all alone as an artist, and yet I know I'm not. That's why I'm participating in this, to share my own experiences and feelings as an artist, and to read what other artists have to say. I'm sure when we all share with each other, it helps all of us
Ingrid Dijkers hmmm ... I think it is always there. I can at any given moment have an idea of something I would like to make. Too many ideas, too little time. When it comes to journaling, I could just do it 24/7, too bad "life" has to come in between. I just never tire of it and am never at a loss as to what to do, I never have "White canvas syndrome".
Mary Buek I wish I knew how to get into that creative groove. I bitch about the lack of it a lot, think about my lack of creativity; I sleep on it. I avoid the studio when I'm not in the mood. I worry about it. Then one day I'm on it and it's all clicking. Sometimes a drive with the camera and a session on the computer wakes up the creativity. Sometimes trying some new technique and having it come out better than expected works. Sometimes watching an instructional CD or reading an art book will do it.
Sally Turlington My groove comes when I get in a multi-day flow of making art. (Good luck finding several days in a row to be in my studio!) Having my mind occupied with whatever is bouncing in there from the universe, without distraction, enables me to create things surprising even to me sometimes. I have to be at it more than one afternoon or day. Even then, it doesn't always happen but when I get out of my way and just let myself be the vessel through which the messages flow (like from the Master) -- YEAH, that's when it happens. Ideas just pop in and I know it wasn't me and it IS groovy!
Gwen Buchanan I need to have other things that absolutely have to be done, finished up, off my shoulders and out of my mind.... and then I feel a freedom to indulge myself...I need time to think; and mull ideas over; I also find that when one piece turns out to my liking , it inspires the next as in a series.
Teesha Moore I put on some good chill out/trance electronic music, I release any expectations I have for what I am about to do and I just stand aside while the creative force comes through my body and spills out. It almost feels sexual in a way...I can't explain it. But nothing energizes me like pure creating.
Lisa Hoffman I have no attachment to my process and I’m not afraid to roll my eyes and toss a piece backwards over my shoulder into the recycling bin. I just START. A really good cup of coffee (decaf, but strong) can add a little enthusiasm to the process too...oh, and something sweet. Music - always, but isn’t that true for everyone?
Julie Prichard Generally, I can sit down and turn on the iTunes to get started. I love to listen to bossa nova French music as well as tunes sung in Spanish. I like to think that I am always in my creative groove because it has been bottled up for so much of my life.
Fran Meneley This is a good question. One I am always asking myself. I juggle my art with the rest of my life and my family. We all do this. So for me the key is consistency and commitment to just getting in my studio. Sometimes I just clean or look at books and magazines for inspiration. But really just doing something, no matter how small, gets me going. I have a couple of rituals that I do that help me get in my creative head space of working. I put on my painting apron, turn on music and light a couple of candles that sit on my work table. I take a deep breath to open up and then begin. I usually don’t have a problem with ideas. If anything, I have too many ideas. I will never run out of ideas. Just knowing that helps me through really busy times. The ideas are always there waiting for me to return.
Denise Lombardozzi stacks of photos and painted papers scattered around, an iced coffee,numerous playlists queued and hours of free time.
Gillian McMurry I beat myself up until I give in and actually create something. I have a great capacity for making myself feel guilty about not creating something. It can be an ATC, inchie, a full scale painting. I just have to create regularly and regardless of what is going on around.
Marilyn Gallas I get ideas at all hours of the day. It could be a song lyric or something I see in a shop. It could be the color of a piece of clothing. It could be the color or texture of the food on my plate. I sit at my workspace and slap paint on paper or canvas. I read magazines and books with other artists' work. I look at other artists' work on-line through groups I belong to such as Arttechniques and Inkjet_transfer. I keep art journals and refer to them from time to time.
Megan Barron By having an internal dialogue with a person I know would appreciate the finished piece. The idea that someone out there understands the aesthetic energizes me. It seems paradoxical, but if an artist makes work for an individual, she reaches a wider audience.
Terry Rafferty Having private time - laying in bed an extra half hour in the morning, going for a long walk, anytime that I can just let my mind wander through ideas. The ritual of sitting at the easel and choosing the particular brushes and adding particular colors to my palette get me ready to actually work - if I can't do that then nothing happens.
Elis Cooke Music is probably my most reliable means of getting out of my mind and into the groove. I usually spend alot of my initial studio time in play mode as a way of warming up. My play work is often the work I find the most interesting as it just happens, comes together... it seems if I can get the mind and expectations out of the way, a creative energy can just come through and surprise me, show me something I've never seen or imagined before!
Judy Wilkenfeld Depending on the piece I am doing I find music that is applicable and play it over and over again.
For my recent piece, “Guo-Guo”, I went to China town a lot, ate the food, spoke to lots of Asian people about the subject matter, surrounded myself with Asian goods – burnt incense and drank a lot of green and jasmine teas.
I totally absorb myself in the culture I am representing and for the entire time I am doing the piece, which is usually a month – I zone out and go into a type of meditative state – delving very very deep into the characters in order that the work process then flows into the final piece. (I told you my style is psychotic but I promise I did not have opium for this piece.)
Stephanie Mcatee it just happens. If I force it, I battle with a good end result that I’m happy with. I’m mainly influenced with my daily life. Surroundings;store windows, trendy catalogs, something metal, rusty, distressed in any way that I find and pick up in a parking lot *hehe(yep, I do this)
Sarah "Flo" Harris With great difficulty. I often find myself waffling about for hours of an evening, thinking "I'll go and do that journal page soon" or "I must finish off that necklace I started" .... Then by the time I get around to wanting to make a start, I'm too tired to get anything done. Even once I have started I am very easily distracted until I get on a roll, and can take forever to do the littlest thing, like make a simple background, because I keep wandering off to organise my ink pads, or put some washing on, or get something to eat or drink, or check my emails.... But when I finally do get into the groove, I just want to keep going, and going, and going. It's not unknown for me to hear the birds start chirping and see the sun poking up over the horizon, and I'm still sat at my art table furiously painting or glue-ing or stamping. If only I could get my butt in gear a few hours earlier each evening, I wouldn't have such black rings under my eyes!
Debbie Overton When I decided to take my art serious and not just a hobby I was a single mom with 3 children which meant our home was always filled with noise, not just from my 3 but from the other 13 children that lived within our block. We were the house that everyone wanted to be at which was just fine with me. I still enjoy some noise most days now that they are all off either on their own or in college. Some days its music, anything from Bon Jovi to David Cook to the old classics. Sometimes I will put in a movie that I can repeat every word of because it has been played so many times and as I work I will catch myself saying the next line with the character. When the groove does not come....I grab my beach bag fill it with a sketchbook, pencils, camera, bottle of water and a roll or two of Smarties and head to the beach for a few hours. I always come back energized and ready to create.
Lisa Call When I work consistently in my studio each day, I find the act of walking into my studio is all it takes to be in that place I need to be in my head to make art. When taking long breaks from the art-making it somehow becomes precious and is harder to get back into on a regular basis. When I practice the discipline to show up I am able to benefit more from my unstructured creative energy. It's an interesting combination of structure and freedom.
Mistie Jordan This might sound silly for creative groove, but I find I need to set goals for myself. I love to read, so I have a journal to collect quotes and visual ideas I get while reading or just going through my day. Then I have an artistic journal to try out techniques and new ideas without going overboard on a canvas. I spend a lot of time between the two of these journals and rolling over ideas that keep repeating themselves to me. These journals follow me around the house, or work or where ever I need them, but once I walk into my art room, I’ve really worked through some things in my head and I’m ready to “start” on my piece and so my room is really like a sanctuary for me – a zone of sorts. My family knows it is difficult to talk with me when I’m in there, because I’m somewhere else in my head. The goals I spoke of before lead me there. They can be loose goals of having ATC groups to create for, or a piece needed for an Art Guild show, or more exact like a commissioned piece, but these things keep me moving along. Goals keep me using the ideas that come into my head. Then I need some mint tea in a handmade pottery cup I bought on a trip to Tennessee and a little music. Oh, also, I always wash out my water jar before I start. I never do it when I finish the night before. Ughh. (wrinkle nose)
Gail Pierce Oh boy! It depends on what is happening in my life as to how I get into a creative groove. Often it’s an overwhelming need to throw paint onto something that gets me into the studio, or a challenge that I join on a yahoo group.
Just start: Picking up a well used paint brush and pulling out a few favorite colors of acrylic paint often works. Or, a response to something like the Cirque Du Soleil inspired series I started after a weekend in Las Vegas. I found the visuals of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics to be exceedingly inspiring, enough so that I’ve been jotting down ideas. I’m in awe of anything done well.
Mulling/researching time: I often need to mull things over before starting to work in a new medium such as deconstruction screen printing that I’ve just become interested in. I nearly always put together a “kit” of the supplies needed for something and that excites me enough to start. DSP requires screens, dyes, and thickener all of which have been purchased; the excitement is building.
All it used to take was to photograph anything and I’d be in the groove.
Sue Pieper I work in what I call "controlled chaos" so there's always something nearby that I can see in the way of an art supply. Sometimes cleaning the studio can get me going, but I'm finding more often than not lately, it's paint that'll do it for me. Paint gets me excited, I love how it feels (yes, I sometimes finger paint!) how the effect of color is immediate, how it can be manipulated, how one color looks next to another. It's an easy clean up, so I can paint for awhile & then move on to something else if I choose to. But it does always make me want to do more-of something! Some other things that are sure fire ways to get in a creative groove would be to take a class, go to a gallery, or hang out with others that "get it". Making art can be solitary, but there are plenty of ways to find social outlets to get you recharged, thinking outside the box, and get motivated.
Vivian Bonder Silence and Solitude.
Gina Petterson I have a local friend, who is a self taught artist that gets my vision. It is imperative to have contact with at least one person (in the flesh) that understands the compulsions and desires of altered art. We are known for collecting broken jewelery, old fabric samples and or ephemera and thought to be quite mad in this small town of 12,000.