When I was in college, I carried half a head of purple cabbage around in a Ziplock bag in my backpack for two weeks. Do you have any idea what happens to a head of cabbage after two weeks of going from a cool refrigerator to all day in a balmy backpack? It wasn't pretty. Nor was it by choice.
It took me those years to realize that it didn't matter where, or even if the things I make are displayed anywhere outside of my own home or studio. That's not the point. The point is that they exist and were made and released into the world. The point is to make — to conjure an intangible something from the ether of nothing and mold it, shape it, form it into a tangible something. The art is in the transformation. That's the point and it's something that I didn't realize when I put my brushes down.
I've been thinking a lot about words, lately — more than usual. I love words. Always have. Not just as language, but the words themselves. The way they sound when spoken, the way they look when written and what they mean or represent beyond the Merriam-Webster definition. For example, my grandfather never carried a wallet, he carried a billfold. You could argue that they are literally representative of the same thing, but the meaning or what they evoke — at least for me — can be significantly different.
No fancy work tables or easels, just a piece of cardboard under an awful fluorescent shop light and my iPhone to capture the process. I don't even use real substrates; I just use printer paper that I coat with gesso. But the beauty is, I make. It's practice. It's meditation. It's play, not work (which we'll talk about next time) and it feeds that desire to create something from nothing, even if that something is rubbish.
Most of you are probably familiar with Newton's first law of motion. For those who aren't, it basically states that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force. The same is true for an object in motion. But while Newton applied this law to physical motion, it also applies to creative motion. It's basically what Picasso meant when he said, "inspiration exists, it just has to find you working."