I am reading the Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp, a dancer and choreographer who, over the past 35 years, has created 130 dances and ballets. The title of the book intrigued me because for the longest time I believed that creativity was a feeling or an inspiration that just happened. I've since come to realize that in order to create I need to be deliberate, intentional, and just start! Or as Nike so perfectly put it, "Just Do It!"
In the first part of the book, Twyla talks about routines and rituals of preparation.
"Creativity is a habit and the best creativity is a result of good work habits." "It's vital to establish some rituals - automatic but decisive patterns of behavior _ at the beginning of the creative process, when you are most at peril of turning back, chickening out, giving up, or going the wrong way."
How true! I am trying very hard to create and stick to regular work habits. Since my studio is in my home and I home school two of my kids, it is very easy to get distracted or allow myself to get distracted! I have a pretty consistent routine for starting my day which includes writing my Morning Pages (from The Artisit's Way), planning my day, some reading/studying, yoga, and then a drawing session to start my time in the studio.
My current struggle is with starting a new project or series and dealing with the all the questions doubts: Is it a good idea? What size? How many paintings? What am I going to do with it? Will anyone like it? What if it doesn't turn out good? Blah, blah, blah.......
I would really appreciate hearing from you...
How do you start your day? Do you have rituals or routines of preparation for starting your day or a new project or walking in to your office or studio and preparing to work? Do you do anything in particular to allow your creativity to flow? How do you tackle overcoming a new project, blank canvas or blank page?
acrylic on canvas
Just finished this painting of hunters in John Day, Oregon for a client. It was a bit tricky painting from a small photo and adding in elements to make the background more interesting. The grass was also quite a challenge.
acrylic on masonite
acrylic on masonite
Mona's studio has a lot of space and windows and light. She has some very big canvases and uses big brushes, bold colors, and expressive lines. The big yellow canvas is what she uses to experiment on.
Last week I blogged about the Mi Mancherai video of Josh Groban and Lucia Micarelli and how the beautiful song they performed had a deeper meaning after seeing them perform it. That same day, I had the extreme privilege of meeting Mona Jones Cordell and visiting her studio.
Mona goes to the Oregon Ballet Theatre rehearsals and sketches gestures of the dancers. She then takes her gestures back to her studio and creates beautiful works of art. What occurred to me after visiting her is that just as Josh Groban and Lucia Micarelli need each other to perform that beautiful song, Mona and the dancers need each other to produce these beautiful works of art. They are all artists who have spent years developing their skills and each brings their unique talent to contribute to the final, beautiful product.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Mona, talking about art and drawing and her technique and sharing how we approach drawing the figure. She is a very kind and gracious lady and a wonderfully talented artist.
I encourage you to take the link to her website to see her art and watch the video to see her at work.