getting started

When I am developing a specific idea for a picture, I make drawings and create a composition for the elements that I want to include in the painting. Another more unusual and playful approach I use is to develop drawings out of a mass of random scribbling on paper. Looking at the tangle of lines, I try to find a form to work with. When a hint of a figure becomes visible I continue to develop the image and watch the form start to evolve. Often this process produces drawings with very unusual proportions and perspective which makes it very alive. Exaggerated proportions like hands and feet become a recurring feature with my sketches made in this way.


When asked where my inspiration comes from I can only say that I don’t know. Actually it is impossible for me to say where inspiration comes from because I don’t actually believe it is an attribute that any artist or any person can lay claim to. It is not a quality that belongs to any individual. It is neither an idea nor any other kind of rational thought process; rather I would say it is a kind of dreamy vision born out of an atmosphere of relaxation. In a moment of relaxation there can be a kind of revelation or “aha” experience, and an initial idea is born. Where inspiration comes from is not possible to say, but certainly in a deeply relaxed moment it is easy to settle into a creative receptive awareness, and suddenly an idea is simply there, and a great excitement to develop this idea arises. This is where creativity kicks in.


Can be defined as the constructive process of working with an idea to develop a project. Children will do this quite naturally and without effort when left alone on the beach. In an atmosphere of total absorption and joy they will create marvelous rambling sand castles with walls and a moat, towers and sea shells to decorate. Essentially what they are doing when they play is actively accessing an atmosphere of creative non doing. They are not thinking along any rational lines, or concerned with achieving any particular result for their castle. Rather they are more in an atmosphere of relaxed free flow, allowing the constructive process to freely evolve. The idea of ‘creating’ is far from their minds and In their natural spontaneous playfulness, they simply ARE creativity! Being creative as an artist can be challenging and confronting. I have observed many students and felt their struggle as they stand before a canvas, bogged down and floundering in the ‘not knowing' dilemma. So far this situation has also been a phenomenon for me to deal with, and it seems that this simply is a frequently occurring part of the creative process for all artists and we have to learn how to ‘jump start’ ourselves and continue. There have been many great painters who can be an inspirational source to us, but when it comes down to it, there is no one else we can look to, and no other guide than ourselves to tell us what to do, or how to proceed.

the crunch!

Goes something like this."I don’t like what I have done… I have messed it up… Something doesn’t look right... I don’t know what to do, the colors aren’t right, I can’t paint"…and this dialogue can go on and on and on, and there is just no constructive answer coming back to us. So what do we do? This is maybe the most difficult task, and it sounds maddeningly obvious, we simply continue! The mind will still be there howling the ‘crunch’ mantra in your ears, but try to find small steps to move forward and continue. Time and compassion will help us learn how to be more patient and gentle with ourselves. Small children will never have a problem with this as they are not preoccupied with any particular result. The process in itself is so exciting. It is the adult’s tension around an idea that the painting has to be in a particular way that creates the block. We will always fall short of our own expectations, and it is absolutely okay that we want to create something wonderful, but maybe we just have to get out of our own way sometimes , stop trying so hard, and let magic happen!

letting go

Painting is a process of continually adding new colour elements, and building on previous layers to enrich the canvas. Inevitably as the picture develops some things will be covered and lost, and in this way the painting will change and evolve, some effects may have to disappear to make place for something new. It is a bit like gardening. We have to clear the ground and remove the weeds and the leaf litter to let the garden grow and flower.

why we do it?

Man has always painted. Perhaps the earliest recorded gesture of man communicating with the spirit world is documented in the stone age cave painting which captures the wild vigor of running animals, and also the identity of one hunter who stenciled the silhouette of his own hand on the cave wall by blowing pigments all around the hand. A hand reaching out and connecting with the supernatural, and feeling the connectedness, recorded more than 100,000 years before our time.

the magic

Creativity is the alchemical process of transforming an idea into an object and making the invisible visible, thus through the creative process, the formless becomes manifest.

This is magic!

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