There is a magical place I love visiting, it comes to me in its own time. It is not a place one can simply arrive at. It is a rather magical place in its own right. Magic has always had meaning in my life, the most magically imaginative books were my most favourite reads as a child. The deeper the imaginary world took me the better. Books and films like Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, Put Me In The Zoo and Alive in Wonderland. Today, I still enjoy a book or film never before imagined, something wildly new that blows my mind and awakens me. This magical place I talk of is where imagination meets creative flow, thoughts and ideas come alive to me in my minds eye and my painting ideas are formed. A place like in Peter Pan between sleep and wake.
Creative ideas come to me when I am still, open and quiet both in body and mind. I am never with fear for my next creative idea, I simply wait and it will come to me. It comes to me in quiet which often means the place where I am in between sleep and wake. It comes with full details including techniques and process. This what I call creative flow, some artists refer to it as their creative genius. Nevertheless, the name is not important the actual experience is what is monumental to the artist. It also can come to me while in stillness of a deep and quiet meditation.
For example, I may have a wee idea of what I want my next painting to be. It could be that I have a general idea of the essence of a flower or a colour palette concept. However, that is all I have in mind. I may ruminate here for a week or a month. Then like magic one morning neither upon sleep or wake, the full conceptual unfolds like a recipe. A detailed outline of what, how, when and where. It is as if my mind and brain are creating a visual mind map in my head, all I have to do is follow along subconsciously. When I wake fully I have my next painting series ready to begin in my mind.
It comes with a full process. Let me explain, I was neither in sleep or awake. I had just received acceptance to my first group show of the year. A show I had inquired about last year in its first debut, as it intrigued me greatly. Now why this show sparked my interest was that is is a show of wooden tondos, 12 in pi squared circles. I thought wow, I would like to paint on a circular wooden panel very much. Such a great challenge for me. The open call went out in December and I submitted to participate. Now, my general idea is simply focused on the conceptual for a tondo panel, what this would look like, this is where I was. My creative flow this morning handed me the recipe for painting the tondo beginning with paper studies, a general colour palette and a loose conceptual to begin. Voila, just like that! Now when I step into my studio for the first painting session this year I have my starting point.
It comes also with a variety of thought out techniques. For example I had to think on my circular paper study. What would my five inch template be? I have an old honey tin lid. What colour palette will I use. I figured this out. How many studies shall I work up? I settled on 6 studies. Once I have my paper studies complete I will have my conceptual for the wooden tondos, I decide to do a triptych. All of this in a random place and moment in time between sleep and wake. I love my brain I am grateful for its uniqueness and its authentic creative flow.
I would love to hear from other artists if they have similar or different experiences. The brain is a topic I have researched for over a decade and neuroplasticity has been a topic I used in my recovery living with chronic illness and disability. My creative flow has developed greatly in my recovery a gift that I am grateful for.
3 thoughts on “Creative Flow: A Place Between Wake and Sleep”
Neuroplastic is a fascinating topic indeed – the brain is changing all the time!
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I have been studying the brain 🧠, for over a decade before this all began. I love it. I still have two books to read! I am hoping to do a piece for The Brain Project which is a yearly art charity supporting brain research. My mom died from brain cancer and I think it to be a nice tribute of sorts.
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That’s a great idea, Jane.
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