How to ‘Capture’ Art

Jazz Quartet

Capturing that ‘Picture in your Head’ can be one of the most frustrating and yet also most rewarding parts of being an artist. Just like an author writing a novel or a composer working on a piece of music, there seems to be an enormous variety of individual approaches to the creative process. Some artists report seeing the entire picture in total completion in their ‘mind’s eye’ before they put brush to paper. Just like many authors say that they have the entirety of a complex plot, with all the characters, subplots and intrigues filled neatly away in their minds. Others, often referred to as “Pantsers’ for ‘flying by the seat of their pants’,  have no idea where their first lines are going to take them or where the lines of their charcoal pencil will merge.
‘Pantsers’ may say that they are the true artists as they allow the creative forces to simply flow through them. Whereas, our more ‘Formulaic’ friends  – (sorry that’s probably not even a word),  will say that the true creative path is to see the completed vision in their mind before following a laid out set of rules to capture their art.  Honestly, I think most of us fall somewhere in between these ends of the creative continuum. I for one definitely see a vision in my head, but seriously … once I start to wet my canvas and apply my first wash … well … a kind of magic seems to simply take over. The Rose Madder miraculously decides to blend exquisitely into the warm hues of Mango Yellow and ‘voila’ … suddenly, inexplicably,  the picture itself seems to be in control. My logical mind lays down the Intense Blue, but sneakily a little pigment escapes from its designated area and permeates insolently into an altogether forbidden part of my ‘mind’s script’. Amazingly,  this audacious behavior deliciously changes the entire mood of the canvas and suddenly, almost imperceptibly, the so-called ‘artist in charge’ is transported into another realm as the creative force channels through my fingers.
This is the Magic of Art … this is the Capturing of Art!  This entwined process of logic mixed with emotion and a hefty dose of random chance… It is this blissful combination that makes us paint away for hours and hours, transfixed in a deep meditative creative flow until the pitiful cries from our aching necks, backs and arms suddenly jolt us back to reality.
We sigh wistfully, roll our shoulders and rub at our necks and then with slight trepidation step back to view our canvas. At first, we often don’t even see the entire picture as our eyes insist on focusing back to the intricate details. But then as the fine images, paint stokes and edges begin to merge; our creation comes to life and to our utter shock and delighted surprise, the picture in our head … albeit with major artistic updates (apologies to the Frontal Cortex),  floats into view and yes it’s done …  we have managed to ‘Capture’ Art.