Saturday, July 11, 2009

Talk to Me

A former colleague of mine, Norm Milliken, did a reading of his poetry tonight in the Transit Buildings Great Room. This is the first time I've been to a poetry reading and the first time I've heard Norm's poetry. I was mesmerized by Norm's poetry and by his voice. (He has a great voice for reading poetry.) His poetry was inspired by his experiences in Viet Nam, fairy tales and his family. He also talked about how one doesn't just sit down and decide to do a good poem in a certain time frame. It takes time. The mind has to simmer and filter and work on it. It may take days, months or years for something to come together.

It's the same with the visual arts. No one sets out to make a masterpiece. It's like the cosmic forces all have to come together in just the right time and place for it all to work. Artist's can't predict the impact their work will have. Pieces that seem right don't click. Those that don't seem right, sometimes are. It's a strange process.

Now I know that I'm never going to create a masterpiece. But, my creative process takes a certain method just the same. For me, the work has to "talk" to me. I have work laying out all over my classroom tables. (There is room for six students when the tables aren't covered.) It lays there for days, weeks and sometime months. Every time I see it, I ask the question.... "Who are you?"
Sometimes I put it away and pull it out with a fresh perspective. Often it goes back in the drawer. The work evolves and it develops a life of it's own. Many, many pieces start out as one thing and end up as something different. I've even been known to take a piece that I've been wearing and re-work it. Sometimes you just have to live with it to know if you like it or not.

My sketchbook isn't over flowing but there are a fair amount of sketches in it. Sketching saves time and money when working out a piece. I know I should be digging into those designs and working on some of them. But, I have a tendency to jump in feet first and then "feel" my way around. Quite often, I work in reverse. Make a piece, then try to figure out what I am going to do with it through sketching.

Talking to colleagues for opinions and suggestions is another good idea. And, so is talking to your work (and listening!)


heatherandlola said...

What do you mean you are never going to create a masterpiece? What about me?!?!?

Alice Walkowski said...

You're right.... How could I forget. I've done it twice.