Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (oil on canvas, 2017)
The British jazz guitarist John McLaughlin is one of my favorite musicians. I’ve seen him perform dozens of times, with a variety of different ensembles, over the past few decades. One of the remarkable aspects of his performances is that when he improvises, he seems to be not thinking at all. He points his face up toward the ceiling with his eyes closed and seems to be merely channeling the music from some unseen force rather than thinking about chord changes or scales or following the other musicians. And the music that comes out is invariably astounding! This is the epitome of creativity – bringing something new and unique into manifestation.
Being a creative artists requires absolute fluency in our chosen medium, which can only come from countless hours of discipled study and practice, most of which is fraught with seemingly unsurmountable challenges and demoralizing mistakes. But this isn’t enough. To be truly creative, an artist must learn, once they’ve mastered their craft, to relinquish control in order to access the source of all creativity. This requires an enormous leap of faith because giving up control means accepting a certain degree of uncertainty about what the final outcome will be – a daunting task for the conscious mind that wants to feel safe in knowing what the finished work will be – and yet, if we know in advance what the work will look like, the work will inevitably be more derivative than creative.
Uncertainty is one of the inviolable principles of the universe. If we can learn to accept the uncertainty, with absolute trust, the creative power of the universe can work through us and then, and only then, can we produce work that is absolutely creative and original. To resist the uncertainty is to live and work in fear.
I am a full time artist, originally from Massachusetts, currently living in northern Maine. I work primarily in oils and pastel, and occasionally watercolor. I offer instruction in drawing and painting at my studio in a renovated potato house. Please feel free to view samples of my work (You can see a larger version of each picture if you click on it.) and leave a comment if you are so inclined. Be sure to click the "Older Posts" button at the bottom to see more work. I don't always have time to respond to comments, but if you wish to correspond with me, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org