I hesitate to call myself an artist. But certainly I enjoy the act of creating, whether it be music, painting, photography – or, if the truth be told, any other medium. What is a little bit fascinating is the question of where this creative urge comes from. What lies behind this need to express something, anything? In reading about how painters work, many of them plan their work methodically, have a clear sense of what their finished work will look like before they start and remain fully guided by their consciousness during the creative process. Others just dive in and start working, often with no prior idea in their heads about what they are embarking on, and what the finished product might actually resemble! Of these two extremes, I suspect I veer more towards the latter in my personal approach. Oh I have tried to plan things out, drawn preparatory sketches, sorted my paints out, rehearsed brush strokes (well OK maybe not that far) but the work usually feels stilted, lacking in spontaneity and more often than not end up in the recycling bin. Contrarily, I can sometimes just start drawing or painting and an idea can take form on the paper. Sometimes its only clear what the idea actually is after I’ve finished working! Now, is this any less valid than that in which the process is guided by rational intention and execution? What is beyond denial is that the work itself seems to contain more vibrancy and energy. Lines flow more easily and the choice of colour, shape and dimension appears more fitting. This method of working can reveal strange things. Yesterday I was working on a pastel and charcoal picture. The way the picture was developing evoked a stained glass window. Now it just so happened that a few days ago, we had attended Sammy’s teaching inauguration ceremony at Carlisle cathedral, where I was duly admiring the marvellous windows in the main nave. Coincidence? Maybe there’s a mediating force at work here. The so-called muse, or angel of creation, that acts as a channel from our hidden consciousness to guide our artistic expression. It’s not a new idea of course, but if there’s anything in it at all then we had best trust our instincts and just draw!!!!!!!
Here’s one of Edward Burne-Jones’s angels of creation to feast your eyes on.