Think of it this way: you're attempting to capture something that doesn't actually exist. A mythical creature that can change shape, even meaning at any given time; and you're expected to do it, again and again, over and over, til the end of time. Sounds all kinds of easy, right? It's actually about as easy as it sounds.
Creativity is the mythical creature, I'm the person that's supposed to capture it. That's my life as an artist. More specifically, a stained glass artist. My love of glass started at a very young age--the exact age doesn't matter--but I know I was short enough to be patted on the top of my curly head by hundreds of people while they called me small boy since I was too painfully shy to introduce myself. I was dragged through hundreds of cathedrals and museums here and abroad. I saw the works of the masters in every gallery but no Picasso or Giacometti or Degas ever related to me the way stained glass did. There was just something about the interaction of the windows with their environment and the way it played with light and its surroundings that made me fall in love.
So, how does one capture creativity? Patience is a great starting point. Noticing everything is another. Sometimes it's an extraordinary detail from an ordinary activity that can inspire a great series of work. It can be a voice or laugh you heard, the way the light filters through the same tree you've seen every morning. It can be a new friend you've found but never met. a metal gate. Repetition of shadows and light while driving down a wooded country road. architecture. Places you've visited. The list is endless, it just has to be noticed.
Ive never had much luck with simply forcing work out. I need a purpose or reason to be in the studio in the first place or I, just like a lot of the rest of you, get easily distracted by facebook, re-organizing studio stuff or other types of general avoidance that only leads to nothing but slacking off. This is the black-hole for creativity. at least in my case.
I have a few other tricks too: I carry a camera with me everywhere I go. I have a tiny pocket-sized notebook for doodles, important lines to save, or notes or phrases that for some reason, I found to be utterly outstanding at that point in time. Sometimes all of this turns into nothing. Other times, even an old note can re-ring a bell and start a whole new round of ideas when I get stuck. I need these extra tools for my glass work because, quite frankly, there's too many points of interest in a single day for the human mind to comprehend, even if your day consists of the same drive to the same office for the same job, day after day after day. Even in a world of monotony, there is always something new, you just gotta find it and what it means to you. So, my advice is: pay attention. Notice the smallest details and trust the process. Forcing work creates forced work, giving ideas time to breathe grow leads to masterpieces.
Check in next time when Zachary expands on the creative life cycle of his series of stylized wildflower panels. In the meantime, check out his other amazing pieces on his Facebook page.
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