Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Influence of Others on My Creative Process

"Waiting His Turn"
Watercolor Digital Collage

Ho, Hum

Hummingbird waiting
while wasp licks nectar drippings
melting pot feeder

The haiku above landed here about a day after I painted the bird shown above. I still dream sometimes about being a children's book illustrator so doing creative exercises like this keeps me motivated in that way. Going back to the painting, I took little dots of color and arranged them on the watercolor paper to mix and match, adding new colors in the process (called Pointillism). A painting is then formed. Georges Seurat was a French artist who excelled at this art form. One of his most famous pieces is shown below. I am grateful we can continue to study and learn from these wonderful artists in our own personal evolution.

"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"
Oil Painting

To continue on with my own process, putting down these little paint dots involved a little more thought on my part, but I was careful not to let the "ego" take over. The ultimate goal, for me, is to have fun and play. I could have covered the whole paper with dots of color, ala Georges Seurat, but this is just a beginning attempt and I did not want to "burn out" on my first try. (or go cross-eyed). Not as much water was used here, so the paints did not escape from me, allowing for more control. The background is from a handmade collage paper I had created some time back and I liked its whimsical effect. I got the idea of the haiku while I stared at the image above for a while. The bird was looking up, perhaps at a hummingbird feeder just out of reach off the page. Once that thought formed, the rest of the words tumbled out in succession. I was satisfied that I was able to unleash two of my creative passions here, painting and writing, and marry them together.

Recently, I've been reflecting on the influence of teachers and fellow artists in my own evolving style. Of course, there are the wonderful Masters who are deceased but whose spirits live on in our present day creations. Some of my personal favorites are Georgia O'Keefe, Leonardo Di Vinci, Claude Monet, Vincent VanGogh and now of course, Georges Seurat.

I remember an oil painting class I took in college. We did various paintings based on the styles of past artists. I can recall doing one in a Cubist style (Picasso) and another a Vincent Van Gogh replica. Below is the painting I did in Vincent's style from a still life set-up.

"An Offering to Spirit"
Oil Painting

As I reflect on the memories stirred up from looking at this painting, I remember that the fruit was starting to rot away as I worked on this creation. I think that influenced me to add a Dali-Surrealism touch (comparable to say, those melting watches in one of his pieces) to my own painting. The oil painting teacher I had at this time taught me techniques, but did not restrict my personal growth. In this way, a unique style I could call my own emerged. These kind of teachers are worth their weight in gold!

In my life now, I am grateful to be surrounded by a number of wonderful artist/teacher friends.
The creative path is never static, but always evolving. I find that the influence from past and present artists in my own work helps me to stay inspired. I can only hope that my own personal creations will live on into future generations and perhaps influence artists to come.

Back to the hummingbird waiting for his sugar juice. I hope he gets his turn to drink soon enough. And I thank him, too, for influencing my art. There are so many teachers out there if we just open our eyes and hearts!


Carol Anne Strange said...

Lots of insights, Bev, into the artistic process. Yes, I so agree about the creative process always evolving. Isn't it just wonderful! x

Elena said...

I absolutely love this one! The paper and the bird are beautiful. I also really like your surrealist painting.

Doris said...

I was wondering what kind of psychedelic drugs you were on? Tee hee...
Actually the Van Gogh style suits you very well.
I love ink pointillism but I think I might go mad if I were to paint so huge in pointillism as Seurat!

Marjorie said...

I love that painting and pointilism! Love your hummer too.

april said...

"Sunday Afternoon..." has always been one of my favorites. A large print hung in my grammar school when I was a kid. It has a place in my heart.