Monday, July 28, 2008

Small Steps and Beginnings

Large knock your socks off paintings begin with small steps that look like not much of anything at all. Modest in materials, playful in nature, and experimental by necessity, these are beginnings. I am not after same old same old here, so I must play a bit. Recycled papers, inks, scissors and sea shells for a start. I have an island to paint and island things are specific in their small bits.

I'll look for textures, interesting lines, and anything that pops up unexpectedly. I'll make sheets of inked patterns, dots on some, lines on others. Some fine, some thick; lines staccato or luxuriant-whatever suggests itself. Some will be in pencil. I may transfer the newsprint patterns onto other papers with a little trick. I will be making my own collage papers. After that I'll go about cutting, assembling, playing with the de-constructed elements that say sea shell, island. I will glue the pieces onto those cut up Whole Foods bags. They'll each make a composition. Authentic ones.

This is the part where false starts, and what ifs rule the day. In fact they are cultivated. There will be no judging at this stage. I am just after capture. Capture of all the rawness, and the "oh that will never work". Because I know amidst it all, there will also be some gems. And I can think, "What would make it work? And wouldn't that be cool if I pulled that off? It's about expansion and growth.

Playing freely with inexpensive just whatever is on hand is invaluable. These small steps at the beginning, unfettered, are juicy, fertile, going to the well kinds of steps. These are the cartoons made in the Renaissance, the endless studies through the centuries, the maquettes made as models. This is the searching, we artists do. It is a continuous line of inquiry, small steps that are the essence of a creative breakthrough.

Think about it. If we always stayed with what we know, well, I would never have learned to walk as a child. I walk pretty fine now, but I landed on my bottom a couple of times until I got it down. So small steps are where we start. And random, playful can be a friend.

Most Important Tasks today? 2 out of 3 of mine are about exploring (and don't I love that?). I am exploring with these collages, and I am exploring with paragraphs. Number 3? Number 3 is very important. It is to restore a little order to my desk. Small steps all, but steps that go relentlessly toward my goal. Yes, we're here again; it's Organizing Monday. But you knew that.

So what are you going to be doing toward that lovely goal of yours?


Vered said...

I LOVE reading about your creative process. Just love it. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Thanks Vered. It's a pleasure to know that.

And that is no small compliment, my friend.

Loved your discussion today. :)

CreateaBalance said...

I just found your blog and ironically also recently started painting after many many years of being in painting hibernation. Thanks for the creative inspiration.

Janice C. Cartier said...

@Balance- Good for you. I hope it brings you pleasure. Both the blog and your newly re-found painting.

Words For Hire said...

Janice with every post you write I am reminded that life is art, beauty, creativity, and playfulness are within reach each day. The opportunity to create, to learn and grown. Each day is a palette waiting to be filled with the colors, textures and random bits we choose. Thank you Janice for helping us to see beyond what is to what can be.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Karen-Aww. Thank you very much. Priceless. Those words are priceless to me.:)