I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
I’ve read these lines from T.S. Eliot before but it was only this morning that I equated them to the creative process. Well, so far as I see it in my own experience. You see, you can struggle to describe in words how things come about, how things finally appear.
You might describe an inner process of visualizations and intricate thought synthesis, of pulling deep emotions to the surface and so on. Maybe that is so but I think it is not really part of the process but is rather an interpretation of what you believe happened.
I think the real creative aspect occurs in a way much like the words above describe– in the stillness and darkness of a meditative void. The mind emptied and all thoughts of the past and the future are set aside. No hopes or desires. Just a quiet dark blankness that waits in endless patience for the first crackling of light to pierce through.
But there are times when the light doesn’t come and you lose patience in the waiting. So you start without the light and occasionally, nearing the end of the process, you find that your mind has emptied and the light has caught up with you. What you are looking at it something quite unlike what you thought it might be when you struggled to begin.
I know this all sounds pretty esoteric, pretty out there and maybe it won’t make a lick of sense to most who somehow slog through to this point. But really it comes down to the idea that you clear the mind and let it just happen.
If it happens at all. Sometimes the light doesn’t find you. But on those times when it does, it is like the freshest clear air has wafted over you and left you with a feeling of ethereal lightness. The clearest air. And I guess that is why I keep doing this and probably will until the day I die.
The painting above is a 16″ by 20″ canvas titled Into the Clear Air and is included in Part of the Plan, my show that opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 29, at the Kada Gallery in Erie. The reception begins at 6 PM. Hope you can make it!