Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stroke of Luck

What I love about this video, and what Guggi has to say, is that it isn't always about "the great stroke" of the paintbrush. Painting, and any creative discipline, requires so much more than what we see as the end result. How many times have you drafted a story only to throw it out halfway through? I can't begin to count the number of times I've had to put a painting away for a while and go on to something else. ...Probably has something to do with the fact I can't seem to count higher than 10. ;)

We seem to take for granted how much work goes into our craft. Too often there will be that one person who says that they wait for creativity to strike before they begin their work. Personally, those are the kind of people I really want to punch in the forehead.

For the rest of us it's hard work. It's exhausting. The hours are long, the pay is measly, and the critics are hounding. But the end result is always worth the effort. As Creatives we have no choice but to show up and do the work that is demanded of us. Sometimes I'll be in the studio arguing with a painting for hours. After a while I get up and pace the floor. Occasionally I'll engage in a Mexican Standoff with the canvas. Usually it wins.

The good news is that the only reason that I'm even arguing with the painting in the first place is because both I and the work want it to come through completely. The work wants to exist, and I want to get it right. So while we argue, really it's a collaboration. I've learned that you have to communicate with the piece in order for anything to go right. And yes, I'm well aware that makes me sound like a fruitcake, but just trust me on this. Eventually, miraculously, everything comes together and when I step away from the easel I see something I didn't know I was capable of doing. I am sure this is true for more than a few of you as well.

So when that one person eventually says something along the lines that you're so lucky, you can smirk at them and think, "Oh if they only knew."


  1. Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo, a program where you are challenged to write a 50,000 words towards novel during the month of November. I did it for two weeks and was completely and utterly drained of all energy after every writing exercise. Telling a story, at least for me, is easy. Writing a story that isn't a piece of crap and that someone might actually want to read is difficult, draining, but it's also completely worthwhile. I'm not a visual artist at all, but I can see how it is equally hard to stand in front of a blank canvas trying to communicate something within you.

  2. This came at the perfect time. Thank you, Lucy.

  3. @Wonderingcleric- Oh, I too have participated in NaNoWriMo! Congrats on making it for even two weeks! That is a brutal experience, to say the least. But, as you said, worthwhile!
    @S. Kemp- Welcome! <3

  4. You know I really believe this concept, so you know I'd like this video! That said, I think you would like reading "The Creative Habit" by Twyla Tharp. Someone recommended it to me a few years ago, and I really dig it. She has a lot of the same ideology as this guy, and though she is a choreographer, her ideas and concepts can totally be translated well to any creative medium. On a more superficial note, I really liked the way the book was designed visually also. You should definitely check it out! :) <3

  5. Oo! Thanks Bethany! I'll have to do that! :D