Working in the basement on a rainy day seems like good cause for ruminating, while I keep myself on task.
Author Daniel Pink says he believes in the simple action of showing up- working brick by brick. .. how taking small steps every day becomes a cumulative effect. This is an experience I can attest to, since my paintings often evolve over the course of weeks and months. (Even the tiny ones- geesh!) But since I am not replicating reality or a photo of reality, there’s often no real reference points except what I find interesting or compelling. And often I can’t see that until I am well into a conversation with a piece.
Waiting for inspiration is lame- we’ve oversold it and been undersold the PRACTICE. But part of the practice is being able to respond to a thought, idea or impulse that may only present itself for a split second. Is this inspiration? or just the clarity that comes with wrestling with a problem for long enough that your mind is working behind the scenes. Sometimes when you’re going for a walk, sometimes when you’re talking with a friend, sometimes when you go downstairs to glance at the painting on the wall for 10 seconds at night on the way to shove some laundry in the machine.
The hand and eye working in response to how you specifically think and feel about something (idea/subject) takes more time and effort… or practice. The result can be abstract/non-objective or representational or ? But vapid sloppy work can also be the result.
As Dave Hickey so aptly put it- “A frenzied, vague, emotional response just means your hand is moving in a pleasantly abandoned fashion.” (ie: Art as “therapy”)
And this results in the kind or work that I remember being discussed in grad school as the sort that you could just “peel off the canvas”. . . emotionally thin or sloppily conceived or not dense enough to have been thought about very much. It relies on gimmickry or facility or satisfaction without labor. Things of which I am still wary (the Protestant work ethic is, after all, part of my genetic makeup) …. so… brick by brick by brick