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Author Topic: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke  (Read 24085 times)

Joel

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2007, 01:38:07 pm »

Quote
...But it didn't look like her, and that drives me crazy.

 :laugh: Yes it did.  You never met her at a certain time of the...
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slidemansailor

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2007, 01:56:25 pm »

My sister's college degree was in fine arts. She created an interior design company that was a huge financial success.... got the contract to design Viking Truck Line's new corporate headquarters and, subsequently, the interiors of many executive homes in Silicon Valley.  She quit it because other people were controlling or influencing "her art".

She has been hired to do several portraits. Amazingly accurate and emotionally expressive faces 5' tall. She avoids that work at any price. She can't stand to "prostitute" her art and instead built custom slipcovers for rich folks' furniture for income and paints for herself. She has put on big, but unsuccessful shows in New York and California. The stuff she likes to produce doesn't sell. The stuff she could sell she doesn't like to paint.  She keeps on painting for herself.  Strong willed is a weak description. 

She is, however, pleased with her art and continues to express herself through it.

Now she is in the middle of a project creating a breakthrough in plant analysis that cuts 26 steps of that genus-family-species stuff into six or something like that. It is from observations she made while pleasing herself with her art, and has some pretty big money behind it now.

You can't please everyone so you might as well please yourself. 
(maybe I should write a song with this as its punch line).
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Claire

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2007, 03:14:32 pm »

Everything I do is experimental, and fun, and an exploration;
Everything I do is to learn more about creating; :laugh:
Nothing I do is a "final product" because that would mean I have just died when I declare that to be true;

Good teacher. Good pupil.

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I have seen you work - I think you will be able to play with much beauty and happiness.  When you can hold that state of flow and joy while you are doing your art, the art will flow through you and into what ever medium you are working, and it will have beauty.  And it will flow back into you and assist in the release of more creativity as well.

Flowing through me. Yes, that's what I want. To get my old ego and all its childish hurts and fears out of the way and let the Flow ... flow.

It happens once in a while when I write. I know the feeling. But oh, to be able to just flow with it, though it, it through me.

Part of this reply got disappeared as I composed it, so this is more than a little incomplete. But thank you, feralfae. Among other things, you reminded me of an old ink-block and brushes I bought in Tokyo many moons ago and never liked to use because of that out-of-control feeling of ink and brush. May be time to dust it off.

Claire
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Claire

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2007, 03:20:43 pm »

She avoids that work at any price. She can't stand to "prostitute" her art and instead built custom slipcovers for rich folks' furniture for income and paints for herself.

In my 20s when I was a fast-lane hot-shot who hired artists & writers, we used to use the services of a freelance architectural draftsperson. She did those stylized drawings you see of buildings that still exist only on paper and she did them well and elegantly. One day I went to her house to pick up her latest for us and I found the walls covered everywhere with absolutely awesome abstract oil paintings. All her work.

I asked why she was doing what amounted to just fancy drafting when she could be making a name and perhaps a mint doing that. She told me pretty much what your sister would tell you.

I thought she was a complete idiot.

I've often thought of her and her wisdom since then. I think I'd like your sister.
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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


My life is my message. -- Gandhi

iloilo

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2007, 03:52:26 pm »

Claire,
Maybe it doesn't look like her, but it might feel like her and catch her personality.
Art is not always realistic.
Portraiture is not always an execution of a copy of the subject(s).
I'd say, if the subject likes it, you are a success!   :laugh:
ff
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Ire

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2007, 04:04:43 pm »

Ah, if only we could get rid of people's expectations of us and just work for ourselves. This is an interesting thread to me.
I think I've felt a similar frustration, but it's do to a lack of ability to express my point in a manner that makes sense (at least, to anyone but me) rather than the expectations of others.

As to the solution of your problem... what puts you in a mood most to draw? I know when I read some beautiful piece, be it music, art, a movie, whatever; I get an urge to just write. Often it ends up with me getting stuck a few pages (if that) in because I can't put forth the ideas I want and still stick to anything anyone will make any sense of.

However, those first few pages- maybe even only the first few paragraphs- often capture the essence of what I want. (Then I go back and edit and ruin it all...) The number of thing's I've written and then trashed five minutes later is uncountable.

I don't know if it can work that way with drawing. But maybe if you do it enough times, you'll be able to paint an entire picture with only the pure expression shown, and non of the influence of what others expect it to look like.

I hope that made sense. It's a painful process, because you are so close to getting what you want and then you lose it, and you end up scrapping the entire thing and starting over. But maybe if you do it enough times, you can break out of it. Just an idea.
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Joel

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #21 on: November 30, 2007, 05:41:34 pm »

Quote
...those ghosts of old teachers and relatives are internalized now. How to banish them?

Boy, if I could only bottle the answer to that one.

I think feralfae came up with the best advice:  Find some different artistic technique that attracts you, and that you never studied in school.   Practice and master that.   If the ghosts have anything to say about it, tell'em that they don't know anything about it, either, and that they should just butt out.
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Mr. Bill

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #22 on: November 30, 2007, 05:46:25 pm »

But I realized when you say, "Do it just for yourself," that I long ago lost the key to knowing what my self (my real self, not my ego-self) wants....

This is really just one facet of that big question, isn't it?  What is life for?  Why am I here?  What do I want?

Which is hard enough, but after a certain age (I think you're just a few years ahead of me, Claire), we've got this growing knowledge that we have only a limited time left to find an answer.

For those of us with a freedom/individualism mindset, the "answer" is always "You are free to choose your own purpose."  Which is no answer at all, really.

And I think that's one big reason why so many people are happy to give up their freedom and let someone else tell them what they're living for.  In some ways it is so much easier to dedicate yourself to the glory of the state, or the glory of your employer, than to have that awful uncertainty of not knowing if your life is worthwhile.

Um.  If I figure out the answer to that one, I'll be sure to post it right away.  ^_^

In the meanwhile, the best I can suggest is to try to think yourself into the space you were when you were a kid and just doing stuff for fun, with no deadlines and no grades.  Don't worry about achieving permanent bliss, just aim for a few hours' vacation, and if you have a sudden whim to do a really accurate close-up of your dog's toenail, do it!

Yeah, what is it, Mr. Bill, with that business of being "talented, but ..."? I don't quite understand what you mean by the fear of people seeing how good you are. What did you fear they'd do? Or what did you fear you'd have to do? Was it feeling unable to live up to their expectations?

I don't quite understand it either.  I think a part of it comes from being the smart little kid in class, always the one with his hand raised, with the right answer -- and eventually learning that this did not make me well-liked.  Better to hide.  In fact, better to be unsure that I had the right answer, since as long as I was unsure, it was okay that I didn't raise my hand.  So, with clarinet, better to play the solo with one or two little mistakes, so no one would dislike me for showing off.

Another part is something like what you said -- not exactly "feeling unable to live up to their expectations", but more like being too obstinate to live up to their expectations.  The more I have to do something, the more I resist doing it.  I don't like having things expected of me.  That's great from the standpoint of being anti-authoritarian, but not so great in a lot of other ways.

There's probably more to it, but the above are the two character/ego flaws that I'm aware of in myself.  I have no idea whether they'd be at all applicable to you or anyone else.
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Wyomiles

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2007, 02:36:09 am »

Claire,
If I take a minute to think back over my life the first memories I have are of art. I loved my coloring books, art class was always my favorite. I spent hours copying the pictures in my story books. National geographic magazine has inspired many drawings . In the late 60's my hippie art teachers really inspired me and I still have some of the still lifes from back then. As I got older I discovered pottery and sculpture. In my sophomore year my art teacher had me do a bust in clay, she made me start with the skull ,add the muscles, then the skin. Leanardo's bust is still with me. In the dorm at college I started copying  playboy photos in pastels . I had always practiced the arts and wanted to study more to find a career in it. But my parents said I couldn't make a living at it.... I am trying not to do that to my kids. 
 I have not drawn anything for 20 years! I threw my last real pot about that long ago also. I left those childish things behind.  As I sit here thinking about it I am not sure I could even do any of those wonderful things I used to do. I look at the watercolors and oils on the walls of my home and cannot believe I actually did that. I have become someone else and I miss being an artist.
For me it has always been about others...pleasing them. Not having time for myself. So I am looking forward to retiring, putting together my studio, and trying to find the child I left behind.
 I fear I will have forgotten ,but I will try because it is a gift once treasured,put away in the back of the closet, waiting for me to remember where I misplaced it.
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slidemansailor

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2007, 09:59:25 am »

YOU.  Yes you with your face in front of the confuser.  You take a time out to answer four questions.  Take as long as you need to get the answers right.

What would you LIKE to do?

Where can you fit that in your normal day?
Where can you fit that in your normal week?
Is there anything you DO that could give way to something you want to do?

Claire started this thread because she is finding the time to do something she has wanted to do. A common piece of numerous answers is the undercurrent that "someday I will resume painting".  I have news for you. Someday comes when you make it.

I have gone to only one of my high school reunions (for all I know there has been only one).  On their name tags everyone was to put what they did to earn a living.  SAD.  When the registration folks told me that I said, "Next time you ought to have people put down what they like to do; what they do that is rewarding; what they do for fun; what they are proud of doing.  Far too many identify with their job. In rare cases they are the same.

Make sure some of each day and some of each week has something in it you are truly happy to talk about at your next reunion... like playing a jazz solo, flying a hull in a catamaran sailboat or painting a portrait that doesn't look like the model, but captures her essence.
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Roy J. Tellason

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2007, 02:49:42 pm »

And thank you all for the suggestions and encouragement -- and for not trouncing me. After I posted the opening rant yesterday, I said to myself, "Claire, what the hell were you smoking, to strip yourself so naked in front of people like that? At your age, it's not a pretty sight!"

Now there's a stupid stereotype that really needs to be done away with.  Older More mature does _not_ mean less visually pleasing,  as the current ability to find um,  graphic material,  to suit just about any taste out there on the 'net proves.  :-)

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But you guys showed yourselves worthy of my trust -- and no surprise there.

I'll respond to some specifics in other replies (some in PMs). But a couple of general observations.

Yeah, what is it, Mr. Bill, with that business of being "talented, but ..."? I don't quite understand what you mean by the fear of people seeing how good you are. What did you fear they'd do? Or what did you fear you'd have to do? Was it feeling unable to live up to their expectations?

There's something about being very good, but not great that's crazy making. I mean, I'm sure dozens, hundreds, of people envied you your clarinet talent, as they've envied my art or writing abilities. To people who can't play a note (me, for instance) your level of talent looks like heaven on earth. People who can't draw a stroke might say, "What the hell are you whining about? Count your blessings!"

But oooh, that being good, but never good enough ...

I don't know exactly why,  but Mr. Bill's post made me think of this.  Is it relevant?  Beats me...
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da gooch

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2007, 05:04:38 pm »

Quote
...those ghosts of old teachers and relatives are internalized now. How to banish them?

Boy, if I could only bottle the answer to that one.

I think feralfae came up with the best advice:  Find some different artistic technique that attracts you, and that you never studied in school.   Practice and master that.   If the ghosts have anything to say about it, tell'em that they don't know anything about it, either, and that they should just butt out.

Ditto.

Singing.
Vocal arts was my only claim to any sort of fame or excellence. When in jr high school I actually won medals at state competitions. It was a group effort and I really loved singing. 
Men's Double Quartet and Men's Glee Club were the medal classes. We took first in both.
The next year my family moved and I got to start all over again. Typical military family life.
Went from the group chorus in elementary school to a capella choir doing broadway show productions in high school.
9 years worth of training more or less.
I sang everyday in class and about half the time at home when not in any sort of organized group effort. Just me doing "my thing".
Graduated from high school fully intending to go to college and become a vocal arts major.

The selective service draft + Viet Nam + no money for the tuition = me in the navy and college is gone .

After that I never had the money or the interest to try to recapture that dream.
I figured it was dead and gone.
Now 40 years later I was listening to the radio and felt moved to sing along.
Yuck.  My skills are still in my head but my body has forgotten all of it's 'moves'.
Breath control is basically gone, vibrato is trashed, range has dropped to less than one octave.
I probably could recover the skills but to what avail ?

I answered those four questions posed by SMS and my first answer was ........
not singing.
My first answer was ....................... building a homestead in a wilderness.
[mental image was northern Idaho or western Montana where I lived years back....]
Get practical I said to myself ...... so
My second was having a school boat so I could teach sailing.
This would at least generate an income while allowing me to do something I really love to do.
BUT ......
I can afford to do ...... neither.
Plus I would HAVE TO live near a population center as my "choice" is a public service choice and near the coast or a large enough lake that sailing is practical.  Both make the land totally outrageously expensive and that excludes me.

And thank you all for the suggestions and encouragement -- and for not trouncing me. After I posted the opening rant yesterday, I said to myself, "Claire, what the hell were you smoking, to strip yourself so naked in front of people like that? At your age, it's not a pretty sight!"

Now there's a stupid<snip> stereotype that really needs to be done away with.  Older More mature does _not_ mean less visually<snip> pleasing  period. No need for further references. IMHO
<tuck>
bold emphasis mine

Just a couple of little snips and a tuck and a Yep me too.
Nothing personal Roy just a personal choice of expression.

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But you guys showed yourselves worthy of my trust -- and no surprise there.

Learning the lessons of Personal Liberty and sharing those lessons with trust in a group of compatriots through quasi-direct communications is what Most of us are here for isn't it ? I am at any rate.
[I'm not a wordsmith so I'm not sure the actual IDEA I was trying for came across there....... I hope it did]


Quote
"...those ghosts of old teachers and relatives are internalized now. How to banish them?"

Ghosts .....
I'm not a mental health professional nor do I play one on the radio .......  :rolleyes:
BUT I really do think Joel was right on the nail head ........
Tell those "ghosts" to take a hike. Any way you like.
Their time is finished. Gone . No longer needed. By By.

First bring them out.  Identify them. Honor them.  Then banish them to the past.
My $0.02

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Mr. Bill

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2007, 05:21:43 pm »

I don't know exactly why,  but Mr. Bill's post made me think of this.  Is it relevant?  Beats me...

Interesting read -- thanks.

Is there a god of curling up in a warm place and sleeping a real lot?  Bast, perhaps?  That's the one I must be channeling.   :mellow:
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Roy J. Tellason

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2007, 06:04:33 pm »

I don't know exactly why,  but Mr. Bill's post made me think of this.  Is it relevant?  Beats me...

Interesting read -- thanks.

His stuff often is, and is well worth searching out.  I mean,  the guy's a techie,  an anarchist,  a gun nut,  and assorted other things.  What's not to like?  :-)

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Is there a god of curling up in a warm place and sleeping a real lot?  Bast, perhaps?  That's the one I must be channeling.   :mellow:

I dunno,  but I do know that with winter coming on and such I have this tendency to not want to go anywhere,  and would much rather hang out and get online some,  read a bunch of books,  etc. than I would getting out and going anywhere.  Maybe mine is cousin to yours?
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iloilo

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Re: Creativity and the All-Important Drawing Stroke
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2007, 08:07:27 pm »

Claire, this thread has been very good for me.

Several years ago, I wanted to buy a piano and begin to remember how to play again, after dozens years of flute, but no piano.
Then my husband became very ill and his medical bills wiped out everything we had - retirement, house, savings, everything.  Then I was alone again, and it took several years to get my feet back under me.  I had forgotten about that piano I wanted.

Now I have a home where I can put it, I can afford (a reasonable used) one, and I can play for myself and practice in the evenings.  So, because you set me to thinking about all the creative avenues of expression open to we humans, I am going to get my piano within the next year, and begin to play again.

Thank you  {{{hugs}}}
ff
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