Creativity, Talent and Discipline

I stumbled across a short clip from contemporary Irish artist, Guggi, the other day while off chasing links through the interwebs. He’s talking specifically about painting, but broadly about creativity in general, and I found it very refreshing to hear someone speak so plainly about the process, rather than waffling on about muses and inspiration and Art-with-a-capital-A.  It’s easy to translate what he says about his creative medium (paint and canvas) into advice about mine (words and paper).  Here are his thoughts on writer’s creativity block, for instance:

There’s no doubt about the fact that painting is not all about the “great stroke” — the great stroke that brings it all together, that now makes sense of all of the work and all of the effort. It’s also about priming canvases, it’s about sweeping the floor, it’s about mixing paint, it’s about so many things. And you know what? People can call it luck, they can call it whatever they want, but the more time I spend in the studio, the luckier I get. I don’t entertain people that sit around for a year waiting to be inspired. That’s bullshit.

I think I need to remind myself of this the next time I spend three hours in front of the word processor and come up with exactly one good paragraph.  Because sometimes it really is just about mixing the damn paint.

5 thoughts on “Creativity, Talent and Discipline

  1. And while you are mixing the paint, you mind has time to sort, filter and combine things that forcing doesn’t help. I usually run or walk and it does the trick for me. But mixing paint and sweeping floors I imagine would do the same trick – its a physical task that allows the mind to wander.

  2. Thanks for that. I’ve been suffering a bit of editor’s block recently, and this was nice to read. We do forget that writing is made up of so many different things. Not just the words on the screen.

  3. I remember similar conversations with you, years ago. The interesting thing about canvases is that some need more priming than others. I find buoyancy is an important ingredient. A little bit of joy can create enough faith to know that the hours in the workshop will eventually birth the work. Obviously, your recent successes are testamony to that. 😀

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