Wednesday, November 03, 2010

process + perfectionism

i want to share some shots and thoughts of a good art day.
cuppa joe on my porch

it begins with coffee on the back porch (this is when the basset hound behind us is not barking) and 3 pages hand written of the morning pages a la julia cameron. I have her complete set: The Complete Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice, which looks like a bible and sort of is for artists!
writing my morn pages

i wanted to share this excerpt on perfectionism from julia that ties well to my earlier post about flow--she speaks about her artistic process in writitng:

To the critic, ease feels foreign--and suspicious. Work should be work, shouldn't it? Surely nothing can simply flow?
Damn the colloquial! Every thought, each sentence, must be carefully weighted. Nothing can begin without knowing the ending. There is no room for exploration, for ambiguity. The critic is a nervous man. The critic likes known routes.

The critic believes in product, not process. Do not try to simply rough something in. Forget sketching. That's not good enough. The critic does not like us to have the joy of creation. It is interested in fixing things, not in creating things. It insists there must always be something to fix.

Julia then moves on to talk about the two functions of the artist, the creative impulse and the critical one. She calls the critical one by the name Nigel, which is funny if you have an english friend named Nigel like I do!

Nigel in her mind is stereotypically:
...a gay man with impossibly high aesthetic standards. My work is never good enough for Nigel. He is always with a red pencil. According to Nigel, who has never been known to say anything nice, it is the critic's job to be critical.

I love the idea of naming and separating the critic from the creative process. Letting the creative process be a time where you can do no wrong. Make no mistakes. Be completely imperfect. Then later bring on in Nigel to edit when you're ready!

After I do my morning pages-- I bike on down to my on to my studio that's about 6 blocks away and start by seeking inspiration.
inspiration gathering
roses and tea inspire me

Then I do a bit of staring at my paintings from different angles and seeing what they need.
looking at paintings from new angles

then turning up the music (feeling particularly fond of the weepies newest Be My Thrill lately, thanks to andrea's rec) and playing in paint!

painting in process



afi said...

Thanks Mati, it is wonderful to get to see inside your creative process, and get to know you through many creative explorations and explosions! Rock on.

catina jane said...

yum yum yum! i love it! i love peeking into others creative process.. i love that passage too. i relate tooo well.. it's a funny thing being a full time artist.. esp. one who isn't quite "making a living" at it yet.. there is much guilt and even more questions and a lot of reminding yourself to simply trust.. it's not as glamorous as some may think .. but it is very blessed living indeed!

Cindy Ann Ganaden said...

What a beautiful post Mati, thanks so much for sharing :-)

Anonymous said...

this is why i heart you so, mati!! i feel very connected - katy & i did the artists way last year together. reading your post reminded me of the magic that comes from the AM pages (and the fact i need to do them again). thx for sharing so honestly, it is an inspiration!! ciao bella

jessiegirl said...

I got started so fast today, the day is gone with out my morning pages. So they may be dinner pages. Beautiful post, and beautiful pictures.

Sandra said...

That's beautiful. What a gift to give yourself the time to be without the critic.

The Creative Beast said...

sounds like a great day =-)

Rebekah Leigh said...

Great blog post..I need to look up those books! Thanks for sharing :-)

Everydayjuju said...

Your day sounds wonderful! I must buy that book....I have too many Nigels in my head.
Thanks for the great post!

blissful chick said...

i want to be your next door neighbor! i don't bark :)

rachel awes said...

a pile
of riches

Laura said...

A gay man with incredibly high aesthetic standards? Hell of a stereotype. Glad I'm not a gay man who has to battle those. That said, great point about the internal critic putting the breaks on the juicy, momentous, creative process.

matirose said...

thanks all!

you're right laura, that IS a hell of a stereotype, i shouldn't perpetuate that, but i liked the idea of julia cameron specifically envisioning her critic as a separate entity.

Anna Lloyd said...

love this post! More please

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your morning creative process. It is fun to learn how other artists start the day. I so wish I could ride my bike to work. It would be tough in rural Maine in the winter with snow drifts and icy roads. Maybe I could ski to work?