A Drawing A Day - Finding my Creative Outlet
Beautiful works of art throughout the ages have enriched my life; Homer's Odyssey, Paradise Lost, Botticelli's works, Marcus Aurelius' meditations, and today through creations by Malcolm Gladwell, and even observations about the power of habit by James Clear.
Creative people have produced so much for me that I've started to wonder about my output. What would my contribution be? Where could someone like me fit in in the creative space?
Even as a makeup artist working in the film and television industry, I've never thought of myself as a creative person. I know I have a good understanding of colour and a knack for recreating textures, but I think of it more as an ability to study and recreate the things that already exist.
I'm not so concerned with technique because I'm not perplexed by it. I understand that it comes from practice. But how does one create something new and original?
It was through watching other artists' masterclasses that I've become fascinated by the creative process. Where do "artists" get their ideas from?
Since I started to pay attention, there's been a common theme I've noticed. I read The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield. He claims that all of us are creative, and an original idea can come to any of us if we open ourselves to it but we have to sit down and do the work.
In Range, David Epstein talks about how Van Gogh tried every art style under the sun. Whole-heartedly and painstakingly, each time he immersed himself. He came across his signature style only by doing.
As David Lynch put it, these "ideas" already exist outside of our consciousness, and we have to go fishing for them to "catch them."
Judy Bloom said that she meets her characters through the act of writing itself. She wakes up in the morning to write and wonders what her characters will get up to that day, and they'd often surprise her.
In the prologue to the novel, The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, the author V.E. Schwab talks about how she met the main character of her book, Addie, while she was on a trip. Then she spent the next ten years with her while she was writing her book.
In the Get Back documentary I watched as Paul closed his eyes and frantically strummed and sang as the song Get Back came through him. First it came as only a melody, no words, and then the lyrics started coming through.
As we grow up we learn about so many rules and guidelines when it comes to art. We see what others are doing and it makes it so that it's hard to even begin.
I had created mental blocks for myself by being too self-conscious and too scared, but how can you know whether you’re creative or not if you never sit down to try? I thought I that was a bad drawer before I had ever given myself a chance to draw.
Both drawing and writing have been the two things that have caused me the most resistance, and I think it's because those were the very things I cared about. I cared so much about how it would be perceived that I avoided them altogether.
Steven Pressfield talks about praying to the muses. He says that the gods love art, and that they love work. And, if you actively listen for them, they might whisper to you a piece of a song, or give you inspiration for your next painting.
Since it's not coming from you but rather from somewhere beyond, you shouldn't judge the work. You just have to allow it to come through.
I started drawing with my eyes closed - blind contour drawings. They’re fun, give it a try if you want. Then you can really see what comes through when you have no limitations or expectations for yourself.
I think that opening yourself spiritually is part of the creative process. More and more I've started to listen. I've tried to become more open to the world around and within me. To be present and unafraid. To love everything that happens to me.
In doing so, it's started to feel like I'm never alone. It's like there's someone there with me, someone whom I trust... that stays with me no matter what kind of embarrassing or cringy stuff I do.
I realized that what really makes someone an artist is that they do what the rest of us are scared to. Artists are audacious. They get up there and sing for you. They get on stage and perform for you. They share their art with you.
Now that I've found something that's eager to come out, I think I understand what creative outlet means. Whether it’s well received or not can't be the motivation.
Don't worry about it being perfect, and don't compare yourself to Michelangelo. If you're embarrassed about your work, you're doomed before you've even begun.
Let yourself begin where you are with what you have, and see what comes through.
My Sketches: https://www.instagram.com/scotiaboydart/