falling asleep in a train
We are in a pandemic. We lost our balance. Correction: we lost our illusion of balance, our illusion of control. As an artist the play between controlling the medium with trained skills and letting it go anticipating surprises in the creation is key. I must admit that I really enjoy this ongoing dialogue, this unpredictability, with every artwork I create. Did the situation of a pandemic cause me to change my intentions? Has it challenged my ability to control the artwork? I do not know…
Creating art is a balancing act. Balance is the navigator of everything. It even directs the relationship between balance and intended imbalance. When I am starting an artwork, when I am in the middle of it, and when I am in the almost impossible position to decide that it is finished, I question its balance again and again. That caused me some time ago to begin to wonder how many connotations, how much meaning, the word “balance” contains.
As an engine for the creation of a work of art, balance throws me back into myself. Often it is the question how much I have planned and how much my subconscious decides. The decisive moment comes when I let go, when I believe it to be ‘finished’. That requires trust, trust in myself and trust in my skills as an artist. That is a process that has taken years to develop, to refine. After long years of testing medium, colors, textures, and myself, I learned to trust my own judgement. But that came only slowly.
The process is like a journey taken in a long-distance train. We trust the path and the destination and the schedule. We purchase the ticket. We board the train and allow ourselves to doze and let the process of getting us from point A to point B happen while we let go. My approach to my artworks seems more and more to follow that pattern. I take the conscious decision by choosing the size and shape of the surface (canvas, wood, paper), decide which medium I intend to use, take my choice as well for the colors and contrasts. Then I switch off and let my inner voice work.
My hands and eyes become the messenger to the work of art that emerges. The longer the process takes and the more complex the creation becomes, the more the demands on the subconscious grow. The process grows and evolves. It happens. It also happens, that I must remind myself to pause, to step back, to direct my analytical eye to the half ready work. I do this from a safe distance. Eventually, the train comes to a sudden stop. In the middle of nowhere we wake up, look around and remember where we are, why we are here. We trust the journey enough to doze off again. At the end we are again fully conscious and the silhouette of a big city, our destination, awaits us. After such a journey the painting is finished.