Transformation

Transformation, 12×12 acrylic

I kept looking, hoping to decide
Wanting to understand how you changed
So different in the shifting light
Around you (and me)

Your soft edges, pastel tones
Transformed. Foreboding, gloomy
Then airy, overly subtle. Again.
Neither quite right, not fully you

Still, you had much to teach me
About preferences and contrast
Seeing and letting go
Both of us in transformation

©️ Amanda Reilly Sayer (December, 2018)

Sometimes a painting changes. A lot. Although I never quite liked this painting in the early stages, I kept looking. As the surrounding light shifted, the painting did too. The images (directly above) represent my first draft and appear different only because they were photographed at different times of day.

Ultimately, I painted over most of the original. The final image is the result (pictured at the top), a very different painting for sure.

The poem is an ode to the making of the painting. But has broader applications too, I think. I’d love to hear what you think!

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Why Share Creative Work?

It’s a funny time to ask, having already created a blog to share my evolving artistic endeavors. Yet the question has nagged at me anew since my very recent foray into blogging. Although it’s possibly a tangential inquiry, I also wonder how sharing is connected to the creative process. All might agree that art is a form of expression. Does that mean, almost by definition, that creative output should be shared? Is this perhaps a variant of the age-old query: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

If we don’t share the things we create do they really exist? To what degree does the act of sharing, and the response generated, change the work? If we do something and no one is there to like it on our chosen social media outlet, did it really happen?

The last question is a joke, really, but I do think one’s relationship with social media and the intentions behind sharing through the varied online options are worth examining. What if no one likes a post? Does that mean it wasn’t worth making? Should one aim for popularity or post the pieces that are most personally meaningful?

Why create?

Maybe we first need to understand what drives us to create something in the first place. Why make another painting? Why share a photo? Why write a blog post or poem or story? Are the motivations highly variable? Or is there a universal drive at work?

To articulate my personal answers about the reasons for creativity is more difficult than I had expected. And maybe that’s the obvious reason we make art – to express things that are challenging to characterize or explain in linear form. Asking why we create things may ultimately be akin to asking why we exist or why we breathe. I understand some folks make things for utility or monetary gain. But isn’t there something more?

For me, creative expression feels like my soul’s urging, something to fill the corners of my being, a way to expand an otherwise partially inflated balloon. As such, my sense of wellbeing is directly proportional to how much creative energy I generate and adequately express. Sometimes I make excuses – I’m so busy; My technique is too primitive; My thoughts are disorganized; I’m not good enough. And every time I say no to myself in these ways, I feel my energy wither. The possibilities for myself shrink, the balloon deflates, and I become fatigued from holding myself against the beautiful current that might guide me to a better place.

Creative by nature?

We are all creators, aren’t we? Sifters and shifters of energy in different forms? Not everyone paints or writes, but we all make something new by virtue of our presence and choices about how we express. And don’t we all look for ways to be ourselves most fully? Don’t we all feel best when we allow ourselves to be swept up by a wave of creative energy, in whatever form that takes?

So why not share? Whether imperfect or still in development, why not let others see what we’re like in full expression? Because when we do – when we offer ourselves in fullness, even in the early stages of our chosen craft – maybe that is when making art becomes an act of love.