on wonder and the creative process

As promised, I’m writing about my creative process. I’m reminded of a time around 6 years ago, when I decided to document every stage of making a painting so that, in theory, I would learn more about being in the flow of my creative process. You see, often I would get to the finishing layer of paint and wonder how I’d made it. This stepping sideways to try to see the process ended up in the making of a really boring painting and the experience of not allowing the flow of creativity to take over. My mind was vigilant, frequently interrupting the process and so, of course, there was no complete surrender to it. The mind cannot make paintings on its own. Creating is a holistic experience. This I know but cannot explain because it is not explainable. A singer is not singing with his or her mind, but with their entirety, agreed? Suffice to say it is, as Clarissa Pinkola Estés calls it – the mysterium. Creative flow cannot be observed by the person in it, or perhaps a better way to say it is that the depth of creative experience is not possible without trust and surrender into it. There you go.

Now, I can talk about what happens in the early stages of making something. Before anything can happen creatively for me, there is wonder. Sometimes inspiration, the spark of an idea, happens. I notice and observe, which is just noticing for longer than usual, and take time to see what happens if I keep attending.  And then as I really see, its as if I become part of what I’m seeing. The ‘I’ is no longer as I gaze upward. Do you ever feel like the sky? Perhaps this began when, as a very small child, Gran would take me out into the night and we would look into the heavens. Sometimes she would say things like ‘ring around the moon, rain will come soon’ or ‘red sky at night, shepherds’ delight’! ‘Evening Bliss’ is a painting I made about being blissed out by an amazing plum, pink and velvety sky-show while on the bus heading West out of Sydney. A good sky for shepherds.

Ps. Digression is a big part of the process 🙂

Evening Bliss_2012_116x116cm

©Suzanne Moss, Evening Bliss (on the way home), 2012

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