The weather is once again beautiful, the sun has begun its treck across the sky and there is a lovely morning dew spread across the forest.
I am often involved in discussions concerning inspiriation. Where does my work come from? How do I find the element that pushes me to create? What keeps me going?
My work is based, as is many artists, on the individuals that paved the way before me. Jim Henson and his forever loveable characters. Tim Burton who showed me that creepy can be wonderful. Heronoymus Bosch had the amazing ability to create his own version of reality. This list could go on and on as honestly inspiriation flows in for me in many ways.
The drive to create is the result of years of practice and a few mental tricks. I do not buy into the school of artists waiting of the mood to strike. That is a great method for some but I have spent my life working because the luxury of waiting for inspiriation has never been afforded to me. Early in my college experience, many of my instructors would play music in the studio. that began a mental training that I still employ today. Whenever I have music on, I feel the strong desire to work. I know that it sounds crazy, but for me it works.
I create because it is what I do. Four years ago I relocated to my birth state to be closer to family. I thought I had entered a quiet time in my creative process. Upon finding my home and unpacking I started hanging and displaying my work. After a couple of days work I stepped back to look at my display. Reality hit me, every single piece on display in my current home had been created in this “quiet” time. I was beating myself up for not creating enough work, but I had hung well over a hundred peices throughout my home.
Often I find that as an artist I find that the work I create just happens. I am unaware of the process. Creating is just what I do. Is it it all fantastic work? No. Do I learn from each piece? Yes.
I love making something from raw materails. The thought of taking something like raw sheep wool and spinning wool, turning clay into pots, and using recycled paper to create sculpture really rocks my world.
Ralph is one of my recycled paper sculpts. He is just amazing to me. I took some discarded paper and created something. That is what I enjoy teaching others to do. In my classes, the best time is when I see a participant get it. When I see their eyes light up because they have created with their own hands something they cannot even believe.
Knowing that I have provided someone with a tool that they can then start to develop into their unique expression. It is a real joy to see their work a few years down the road, often they have far excieded my skills, but they have grown. it is truly a wonderful experience.
So muy hope for you today is that you continue to learn and grow. That youy choose to create something with your time. Something that will change your life and improve your skill set for the future.
life has a funny way of expressing its truths. I go along just doing my thing, not really headed to anywhere. Out of the blue I catch a vision of what has been happening. I wish my life was one of those lives that is designed on purpose. You know, yoga every morning followed by a sensible breakfast….. and so on. It is not. my life is much more of a circus where the animals have escaped and the tent is on fire and I only have gasoline to extinguish the flames.
Then I get a glimpse of something. A collective narrative that speaks to me. A reap purpose to my work. Today, I took this group photo of my work. Just what I have kept for myself. There it was, plain as day. My work was on display in all its glory. I am creating my world. My rules. My vision.
Have you taken a moment to look back at what you have done? I know that we do not spend enough time learning to love what we do. Take a moment and really look at your progress. It doesn’t matter if it is art related or has to do with your laundry. You do amazing things everyday that bring you closer to your dreams. Do not ever forget that.
You guys should visit my group on Facebook Gromlings. The conversation there is wonderful and always as magical as a group of Gromlings out for a morning stroll.
Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes the downs get a bad wrap, but without them we would not appreciate the good. I struggle from time to time. When you walk your own path, not only is it lonely, there is no road map. I choose the direction of my work. That leaves me in uncharted territory.
Do not get me wrong, I enjoy my path, I really do. There are times though that I can be envious of others. Some people seem to just fall into their fields. For others like me it is touch and go. A lot like hugging a cactus.
Finding my people, my crowd has never been my strong game. I have spent many hours alone with only my thoughts to keep me company. It is understandable that in this state anyone would begin to question their direction.
Paul Cezanne was an incredible artist. In reading his history, I feel that he struggled with a lot of what I battle each day. It is nice to find a kindred spirit from the past that survived the same struggles that I have faced. What kind of struggles bring you down? Do you have a different challenge?
Life can be busy sometimes. Today was one of those days. It started early and never stopped. Time was just flying by. As with most busy days, I got a lot done.
The world waits, but not for long. As a creator I have to keep producing. I get asked a lot where do I keep coming up with new ideas. to be honest I am not sure. I can give you the crazy answer. When I was working on Gurtie, she was telling me stories about her friends.
In reality, these little guys have been running around in my head for years. When I started in college I was challenged with my assignments to create. These little creatures began to show up. Yes I did all the classical works, such as painting with a limited palette, Abstraction of form, and even copy old masters. Still, these lovelies keep making appearances.
So after a while I just went with it. Gromlings are have been made in cast Bronze, clay, plaster, aluminum, concrete, stone and now paper. the point of all this is that art is a process. You try many things and before you know it, you have a voice. Your style develops because it is what you do. It is not a forced exercise, is is a natural extension of yourself.
Spend your time creating what you love. The world needs your unique vision, and you need the vehicle of expression. So if you need to with ketchup, you do you. That is how the world becomes a better place for everyone.
Inspiration is an odd thing. Everyone likes it when they find it. It motivates, drives and fuels creativity. Often times I hear people say they cannot even begin to work without it.
As long as there have been people on this planet, inspiration has led to the development of many new things. One person sees another’s work and then the next person adds to it. That is what makes the world so wonderful.
Sometimes people want to hoard their ideas to themselves. They are insecure in their own creativity. I receive comments all the time about how I need to copyright my creations. I will admit I am not a lawyer and do not understand the law. What I do know is that I have watched as copyright battles drained artists and others of their very life. Yes, I want my creations to remain mine, but spending my day defending myself in court is a day wasted from creating.
I know it is a risk to make this statement in a public form, but I would rather explore and expand my creative life than have to set in a court room. Besides, what if my work does inspire someone to create their best work?What are your thoughts?
Life can be challenging at times. My biggest struggle is that monster called balance. I mean what does that even look like? I think i have it then I realize I need to bath the dogs and do laundry. or I turn around and I haven’t seen friends in weeks.
Finding that balance seems to be the magic formula for success. Gurus talk about it all the time. Who cleans and decorates their houses while they make videos telling me how to find balance before they jet off to Italy?
I am not sure balance is a good way to address the issue. Yes, it may be just the ticket for some, but I need something more. My work dominates my life. I like it that way. For me my work is my life. Just try to spend a few weeks with me when I cannot work. I can tell you grumpy is not the best word to describe me in those times.
Maybe I do have balance, but not in the everything is perfect way. I rush from my work table, quickly wash my hands never getting them completely clean. Let the dogs out. Start the washer. Go to the bathroom. check my emails while I am in there, I know gross. then rush back to let the dogs in before grabbing a tea(cold because it has set in the pot too long) and heading back to work.
That is the balance that works for me. Get stuff done as fast as possible so I can get back to work. How do you deal with the balance of work and life? Do you think about how others manage? Let me know your thoughts!
Mistakes I have made a few! That is how we learn. Seems like there would be a better way, but there is not. When I was studying bronze casting in college I failed to finish my surfaces. Turns out smoothing wax is much easier than grinding metal.
Just last week I noticed that two of my creatures had the same name. Oh well, many people have the same name and it works out just fine. Sometimes mistakes are easy to fix, and sometimes you have scrap the whole mess and start over.
Every time you begin a project again, that project will be better, bigger, stronger. Take my Gromling project, for example, When I was casting them in bronze they were just a hint of what they are today. I was just getting the feel for expression and texture. Then I did them in digital arts and they developed even more. I began to develop the proportions that I liked. Next I worked them in clay. They really began to come together. The only problem I had at this point was shipping such fragile creations. A bowl ships much better than a little creature with horns and legs…. well you get my point.
At this time I was also creating masks to hang on the wall. These masks were getting large and heavy. Some of them would take a substantial wall to support their weight. Idea time. I remembered some paper mache I had seen in New Mexico and I thought I had the solution.
Well every new medium has its learning curve and this would be no different. While on the surface paper mache seems like child’s play, making consistent work proved to require some time. In the end it was a wonderful journey, and now I am part of the circle of recycling. I want you to find that medium that brings you joy.
Yesterday I discussed the troubling times we are facing. I always turn to my standard response for everything in my life. I create. One of my go to projects for personal development is to create mandalas as part of a meditation.
As I create my mandala I allow my mind to empty. The marks become my entire focus. Perfection is not desired, just repetition. Time spent away from the burdens of the world. I become nothing so I can gain peace.
I use all kinds of materials, but the point is to just become immersed in the process. To lose yourself in the piece. To bring your mind to a place of quiet.
I offer this workshop online and in person(when social norms return) Many of my past participants still send me pictures of their work. I can see where they have developed a meditation process that is enjoyable and productive. If you would be interested in a Mandala Meditation class contact me at Georgejwal@gmail.com and we can set up a time. I think the world needs more people in meditation now more than ever.
Today the world is in a bit of a state. Oftentimes I find it challenging as I am sure others do as well. I escape into my world of creatures where something might eat me, but generally everything is just beautiful and joyous.
I do not wish to downplay any of the seriousness of the current situation. The world is in desperate need of change. People are dying from disease and violence. All of this needs to be addressed and quickly.
I do try to focus on the beauty around me. Spring Arrives is a lovely example of that attempt. If you stare into her eyes, you can see the compassion and concern. She has managed to wear her best spring colors, but the weight of the world is on her shoulders.
She has lived a thousand springs and each one is met with anticipation. She has a job to do. She is to bring beauty into the world. I think we all should try to be beautiful people. People who care are the only people who have ever created lasting change in our world.
I am one of those people. I care. I try to do my part. I see other artists posting sales for members of the society in need. I have thought about that, but I feel it is better for me to donate in silence. I do not want to be promoting my work at the expense of someone else. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that type of work, it is just not how I function.
As this Sunday comes to a close, I am reflective on the past week and hopeful for the coming one. I want to encourage each of you to spread love, hope and joy as you begin this week. Give a little extra to your fellow human. Me and my creature family would really love that!
Kazar is an angry little alien baby. Mostly because he is not a baby and everyone keeps treating him like one and they will not let him have his ray-gun back!
Saturdays are a unique day for most people. I am no different. For some reason I always think of Saturday as some sort of free day. I will nap and relax. That never seems to happen, and I am not sure why I think it should.
Today I shipped Gromlings, worked in the yard, promoted my online classes, as well as the usual day to day activities. As artists it seems that work schedules are almost impossible. What other job would you wake up at 4 in the morning with an idea to fix a project and then notice at noon you are covered in paint and still in your pajamas?
Time managment is a real challenge for me. Projects take time, and often longer than I think. Surprises are around every corner, like three days of unexpected rain. Nothing will dry. Still through it all I push through and make it happen.
What tricks have you developed to keep yourself on track? I would not change my life one bit, but if I could just manage to mow the grass before it is a forest that would be wonderful. Hope you have a great day!
Another beautiful day here in Arkansas. The Natural State has a lot of hidden beauty. I never know what treasure hides just beyond the trees or around the next bend in the road. The forest never fails to surprise me, I can visit an area and a few weeks later it is completely transformed in to a different magical place.
Often, my work follows a similar path. I will sketch and plan but in the end the creation takes over. Telling me why it needs big ears, how many teeth it will have, and sometimes even changing completely.
I allow this process as I feel that this provides an organic quality to my creatures. I have never enjoyed a rigid plan when it comes to my work. I prefer to respond to the piece as it develops.
This is not the way I was taught in college. However I believe that each person has the duty to develop their own working style. If artists do not develop then art does not grow. It is important for artists to learn how to express themselves in a way that is authentic.
Friday’s are always a rush day for me. I need to finish up this weeks projects, make forms for next week’s work, and clean the studio. I hope your day is filled with new discoveries and joy.