Work in Progress

Today I started working on some new mixed media pieces, and while doing so, it led to thinking about “Work in Progress” or sometimes known as the acronym term, “WIP.”

When an artist shares a Work in Progress, what is behind that sharing? Is it for true feedback – I think you need more raw umber there or quinacridone magenta in the foreground? Or is it just for the “Likes” – today’s form of “virtual applause”? Too much ego-stroking gets a little nauseating… but I get it, everyone needs encouragement along the way. Lord knows, I do. External encouragement is good (and authentic feedback is valuable) but really the “hard work” of creating is on “the inside.”

Work in Progress. How does an artist make progress? I have completed work, of various kinds, this year. But I’d like to produce more. There are so many barriers all along the path of creating a piece… from conceptualizing to actually creating (depending on the medium there could be many steps involved) to finishing (framing, argh!) and even the dreaded giving a title to a piece. Each one of these steps presents the potential to hit a barrier, a rock in the path, or worse, to fall into a pothole or big sinkhole , and then artist must struggle to climb out and get back on the road. What keeps you going on that road? That creative path? 

So it is the beginning of the year, and I have been thinking about my intentions for the year – increasing loving kindness, operating mindfully, and practicing creativity. (More about the others later.) Let’s focus on creativity.

Even when I look at the word “”creativity” – it implies action! Maybe it is because the ending “ity” is like  the ending of “activity.”

So is each step of creativity about action – if there is no action, there is no creativity? No. Not really. There can be a lot of action in the mind, in the spirit, in learning, in researching, in absorbing the world around the artist, all of which seems “inactive” to one who defines creating as only putting brush to canvas (insert your medium of choice here.) So it is okay to ponder, wonder, day dream and doodle! Yes, of course. I think the secret is not to stay there.

Does an idea for a work have to go through your brain and bubble up to the surface? Is the concept a whole finished idea or just a spark of a thought? How do I move from stasis to activity?

What’s the answer to progress? Maybe, for me, anyway, is to think less about the barrier and more about the path or even the process. Getting materials out, and just experimenting, etc. Experimenting allows me to open up creatively.

It is also about creating without thinking. But moving from a standstill to action..without thinking…Strange concept, I know, but I will try and see if it works.

We are all a “Work in Progress” anyway, no?

More later.

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