Thursday, September 08, 2011

It is easier to create when we are true to ourselves.

Whether it is writing or painting I have decided, or realised, that it is easier to create when we are living our own truth. Take painting for instance. I finished, or think I finished the painting above today after looking at it for a year and not being sure where to go.

I had not really painted anything since moving to Malawi and leaving my painting class behind... a class which not only gave me confidence but taught me so much about colour and painting because until I started the class I had never painted anything... at least not since leaving school.

I knew when I started the art class that I was not by nature a realistic artist simply because while I had been good at design at school and actually got high marks for art, I seemed singlularly useless when it come to creating, or re-creating anything realistic. I felt I had an eye for image, colour and design and that ultimately that would be the best place for me to focus.

I produced half a dozen or more paintings during the year I took the art class and most of them were landscapes, actually, pretty much all but one were landscapes and that was because I figured there was 'wriggle room' in landscapes which required some reality but one also had poetic or artistic licence. Some of them turned out better than others but more than anything it was because of the use of colour and the perspective. It also had a lot of help from the art teacher who had a brilliant eye for both.

So when I found myself in Malawi, with my paints but no class and no teacher I was at a loss. I knew I had to get back to painting but I would be doing it alone. That meant I had to rely on my natural skills of perspective and colour. No wonder I agonised for a year. I simply did not know where to start. But finally, there was no choice but to reply to the canvas which kept staring at me and to get back to it. I had a few attempts at re-working this canvas, which looks nothing like the original photo I was trying to copy, and finally today I felt I came close to living, or rather painting my truth.

N.B. I did have another go at the tree painting.

I was and am pleased with the result. It isn't anything special of course but I do feel it works and I would be happy to hang it on a wall or even give it away as a gift. I am not so sure about the second painting and have also been pondering that for a year. It may still need some work or it may not.

And that is the thing about painting and the major reason why I took it up ... there is something one can do with a painting or also a piece of pottery, something else I tried and liked doing, which one cannot do with a manuscript or even a poem. There is no way to display the 'word' where it can be regularly appreciated or even seen by others in the way that we can hang or display art.

Perhaps that is what made so many writers neurotic and which still challenges those who work with words.... the hours of solitary effort which brings to birth something which is hard to share or even see. But, as long as we write from our own place of truth it does not really matter and the internet has brought writers like myself much satisfaction simply because even as one remains unpublished there are opportunities to share about which past writers would only have dreamed.

For I do believe that creativity is meant to be shared and in many ways that is its main purpose, whatever we may tell ourselves when we do not have or fear we will not have the opportunity to see our creative acts made public.


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