Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Processes: The importance of “working into” the subject

When I give my clients instruction I sometimes use personal phrases or terms which might need explaining. So what do I mean by working into the subject?

Art can take on a life of its own, if you let it, just as writing can. I see it as an organically creative process. Once you have played with your materials or words you can then move onto working into your subject. Keep in mind about being curious and fascinated and try exploring your subject matter with different ways of looking. Notice and become actively aware of yourself and your subject. 

When the unexpected happens in your art or writing or even in your life you have the choice of ignoring it or being curious and aware by asking yourself questions. Some questions might be “what if…” or “what else could it be?” or  "What could I add, take away or do?” For example if when you spill your coffee and your cup makes some coffee rings you might look at it in a different way (asking: what else could it be?) and then you see a bicycle. Only you can see it. Once you have found your subject that you want to enhance or highlight think of words like accentuate, expand, take away and extend to help you clarify your image.  In order to make it visible to others you need to enhance it, expand it, or add a couple of lines; this is what I mean by working into it. 

Here is an example of geese and their nest which was inspired by coffee cup rings:

Seeds of inspiration come to you in many different forms. You could be given three words and asked to free associate (the first words which come into your mind on hearing a suggested word). The words, or memory or even sentences which you get could be worked into by creating an essay or a poem or journal piece or visual image. 

You can also intentionally play with random marks (with your eyes shut; blowing ink blots; or scribbling etc) and then stand back and view it with the intention of seeing something else.

Here is another example; it was suggested by someone "I see two birds with a little man in the middle. A dodo on the left and flamingo on the right. Go figure..":

By Sandy Bywater

The process of "Working into" comes after your initial seed of inspiration. You need to be curiously expectant to see or hear something; and only you see it. This will be the start of your inspiration but it is the thing that comes before the inspiration which could be the mundane; or an accident, mistake or glitch. (Coffee cup marks; clouds, grain in the wood; shapes in the blankets; sounds you might hear in the engine; a phrase you heard or read; the list is endless)

“Working into it” is about taking the embryonic seeds you find and turning them into something visible.
Sometimes you can come up with new seeds of inspiration through play and per chance it becomes something new and unintended. You create something by chance as it evolves through play and experimentation. You might not have intended a certain image but it “just appears”. Keep yourself open to observing. Be open to what your unconscious brings up for you. Be open to the bizarre or off the wall ideas. How do you observe? 

Notice the colours, shapes and lines you have chosen to use; notice new images presenting themselves – you can turn your page upside down or sideways and see if you can see more: try adding more lines, texture, or different materials.

Notice your feelings while you are creating and while you are observing. What do you feel: joy, anger, awkwardness, frustration, excitement? Ask: does this feeling want more attention and what would it be about? How could it be best expressed?

"Working into" helps you extend your creativity beyond your expectation. It is also used as a device in the journey of self-discovery. 

"Working into" is one of the many creative processes I encourage in my workshops.

A Warm Smile,
Morag Noffke

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