I've been thinking about the opposing/complimentary activities of looking at art and making art. What's your pattern of looking and making art?
- Do you lock yourself away in the studio, you and your creations only emerging when complete?
- Do you troll through galleries, books, and online videos but have difficulty putting in the time at your own easel?
I find I go in cycles of looking at other people’s art and focusing on my own. I might go for several months not looking much at other artists’ work. Then I'll go see a lot of art, but perhaps not make as much.
For me, there are four distinct activities that directly contribute to my art practice:
1. Looking at art:
Over the past ten months, I’ve looked at a lot of art. Seeing shows at galleries in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal has amped up my excitement and also my goal to increase depth of content and mastery of execution in my work.
2. Looking and talking about art:
I’ve also done a number of studio visits. It’s great to talk with other artists about creative process, materials, challenges, and inspiration. It can also be deeply beneficial to look at and talk about art with someone who is interested but doesn't produce art or who makes art that is different from my own.
3. "Filling the Well":
Sometimes the looking is focused on ‘filling the well’ (from Julia Cameron's "The Artists Way") and building up ideas and information for upcoming series rather than looking at finished artwork. I walk and look at whatever catches my eye. I read. I play/ride my bike/feel the wind on my face. I meditate. Visual, intellectual, physical, and spiritual experiences all provide fodder and support for making my art.
4. Making art:
I’ve also been spending a lot of time at the studio since late summer. I'm currently hard at work, completing pieces for an upcoming show. I'm also working on proposals, and doing some exploratory work to approach the next series.
It seems that my cycle is shifting to a shorter frequency, iterating back and forth between these activities. I know I’m excited and inspired and living in the world of art in some way pretty much every day. Yeah for that!