In discussing a work in progress with my nephew Kyle we came onto a thread of conversation about creativity that I have been thinking about for a while. This is the idea that a painting is a continuous record of the creativity expended to create it, a continuum of creativity. The process is the creative part, the “creation”. What you have at the end is a visual record of the process.
Speaking as an artist, the interesting and challenging part of the painting process for me is this continuum of creativity through time. The finished work of art, what people see as a result of your labor, is really a by-product. Of course you want to sell this by-product so it must be crafted well, but have you ever stood in front of a painting and considered the creative process behind the facade?
Now we come to the finished product. Complete or finished are relative terms. The Impressionists were berated for not finishing their work to Academy standards. Sometimes not finishing a work is part of the concept. I think that many artists, including myself, sometimes have a problem realizing when a work is complete. You get so wrapped up in the creation that you lose sight of the concept, if you can even define it. Sometimes the concept doesn’t become clear until you are well under way or even finished as a consequence of working out of the subconscious or intuition. All of this can be a mystical process and open to interpretation.
Apparently Cezanne’s take on this was that a work was complete at whatever stage it was at in process. This leads me to think that perhaps he considered the record of the process of creation (the painting) a complete act… every day.
I feel that most people who are not artists, well… even some artists, well…even myself at times, consider the creative process a mystery, in that they have no idea what leads to the conception, inception, execution or completion of a painting. Of course every artist’s process is different, but sharing the process where possible only increases your chances of being understood visually. I think that this curiosity by the public is what drives the open studio idea.
To this end here is a short clip of a work in progress; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J71pXQZ_jdk