It took me years to understand that the notion of inspiration could be a slippery slope where creativity is concerned.
“I believe in magic. Why? Because it is so quick . . .”*
If we wait to be impelled by mysterious forces before we begin to practice our craft well, we don’t, practice.
It took me a very long time to conquer my distaste for making a mess. I was loathe to do it wrong the first time I tried so I never tried. I finally realized time’s a wasting and I took the failure bull by the horns.
By it’s very nature diving into a new project is guaranteed to produce a uncertain amount of mess.
Now I take the risk but believe it or not I am a cautious person. I have trepidation as I take pen, paint brush or keyboard in hand. In the case of my top hat (above) it took leather and glue to lay down something new.
I dream of something I want to bring into the physical world, and that journey, by way of materials and a fake-it-till-you-make-it know how is often a bumby ride. But that’s the fun of it. I never know how a thing will turn out.
It took me a good week to make this top hat because I’d never done it before. I bungled the steps, I fretted over it’s roughness but I pushed on. I had to add a star to cover a blemish.
The actual sequence of steps in the process of top-hat making were revealed to me through my mistakes. Now I know the right order. Next time it will go more smoothly.
And Lordy doesn’t it feel new each time? I face the same amount of risk with each creation. It’s a new set of circumstances each time.
What’s next? A painting of Arthur Lee.
Having read the 33 1/3 Forever Changes and having noted my impressions here while listening to the Rhino Love collection while doing so, I was impelled to make the sketch of Arthur.
Even though I know that relying on inspiration can be a detriment to getting one’s thing on and even though I would like to start painting projects in a more rational way, the truth is that I am “moved” by my passions to put an image onto a board.
I can think of a number of good subjects and have in the past few weeks catalogued a number of them, but I did not pick up the pencil during this vacation until I was feeling a strong desire to bring this particular face into the physical world.
I have been deeply moved by music over the course of my life. It makes sense that a lot of the faces I’ve been “moved” to portray are the faces of musicians.
Below are links to the portrait prints at darcyarts.etsy.com:
I’ve painted Frank Zappa, Jeffrey Lee Pierce twice, sorta David Bowie, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, Elliott Smith, Pete Townshend, Gram Parsons, Howling Wolf, and Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe.
There is a long list of faces I’ve still got to manage: Pamela Des Barres, Linda Thompson, Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams, Patti Smith. Joni Mitchell, Odetta — I need to do more women. Poison Ivy and Lux interior are high on my list. So are Marc Bolan, Jerry Garcia, Joey Ramone, all the boys and girls who struggled and made their best effort and died young . . . the list could go on forever.
Sometimes if the feelings are too intense that kind of clouds my abilitiy to deal with the physical necessities of working with real-world elements. I guess I get star-blind or love-blind or something. I couldn’t write with a clear, analytical head about Mark Twain when I was in college because I love him to a degree that is unreasonable. I have been unable to paint a portrait of Jeff Buckley for the same reason. If I painted portraits in an order related to the number of hours I have listened to a particular artist Jeff would be first on the list. The members of X would be next. I painted Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
I painted John Doe but was disappointed with the result.
I’ve got a few of these paintings.
I like my James Brown but, early on I mod podged with a glossy finish. Bad move for photos:
My Brian Eno’s not bad but in all three I used shiny materials that I do not know how to photograph without shine, glare, light bounce.
Love that glitter! I learned, though.
These were some of my earliest paintings.
My biggest diappointment was my Bob Dylan. I found a beautiful picture that I think everyone loves and even though the angle of the face, with Mr. D looking down, is pretty much outside my skill-set to pull off accurately I didn’t let that stop me.
I loved the challenge of the curly hair, too.
I am currently listening to the Five Royals. Early R and B. Too Cool.
“My baby’s got the best washing machine in town. Ooh, Ee, what a machine.”
This disc is a great mix of wonderful, sincere gospel inspired ballads and these sweet, funny, raunchy tunes. They rocked.
*lyrics by Arthur Lee from”The Red Telephone” on Forever Changes.