The creative process is unique for every artist. For me, it is a half-planned, half-intuitive process. I’ll begin with a general idea, but as I explore my canvas with an array of brushes, tools, and colours, a scene I hadn’t envisioned is often revealed. Creating takes me out of my own head and allows me to immerse myself in a new world of my own making.
Several local Vancouver artists took some time to share their thoughts on their own creative process with us.
To Rose Tanner, the creative process is “the work of creating something out of nothing. It’s what you do after the inspiration.” Rose’s process begins in the field where she studies, sketches and photographs birds in their natural habitat. Afterwards, she looks for the moments that are intriguing and inspiring to base her work on. Sometimes she goes straight for the subject and other times she works out the details in the process. “I like how the process takes all of your focus and puts you in the present moment while everything else fades away,” she writes. “Sometimes, I’ll be holding five brushes and have no idea how they got there.”
Other artists describe their process as being more unplanned or unexpected.
Denise Carvalho’s creations oppose “the notion of precisionism, using the accident as the unexpected breakthrough of the creative process.” Her work focuses on “the power of colour as an internal mantra reaching out toward fluidity, synchronicity, awareness, and healing. It follows the steps of self-consciousness not as control but connection with everything.”
Christy Sverre similarly incorporates chance into her work. “All of my paintings start with energetic mark making on which I build my abstract impressions of the chaos I see, mostly in marinas.” While she begins with an idea of what her painting will depict, she “paints with abandon”, holding on to this idea loosely. She allows her personal marks, shapes, and bold colours to guide the way. “This all happens very intuitively and quickly. Then I slow down the tempo to refine it all and I know it’s finished when my intentions achieve a sense of balance out of all the chaos I created.”
Padmashree Badarinath paints with freedom representing a shift away from the precise planning that characterized her upbringing in an orthodox Brahmin household in India. “It wasn't until recently that I realized that creating art was the only thing I need not control, plan, or even sweat about. Some of my best artworks have been created when I let go of all the inherent influences. These days the process of creating art starts with curiosity, entering a sacred space in my mind where I am fearless and then falling free to experience the entire process. The outcome sometimes even surprises me and that's the best part.”
Finally, to Alain Vincent, the inspirational process is something the artist cannot take full credit for. Rather, it works through an individual. He writes, “I am unsure if there is a precise creative process that could be grasped by us, since the creative jest precedes us in time and it contains the artist in its creative movement.” To Alain, it is more-so a culmination of experience, exposure, and influence, all working together to express themselves where the artist is just “an element in the puzzle”.
“That is the reason why I try to approach the canvas with the least intent as possible... The important thing for me is to start moving around the instruments at my disposal. Every now and then I get lucky and I recognize right in front of my eyes one possibility in a million to render what cannot be explained.”
By Jana Rolland