Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I love to see the face of an artist creating. Whether it’s painting, animating or writing, the expression is the same. Some would say it’s concentration and it is, but it's more than that. Accountants concentrate, but they don’t look like artists do, with all due respect. Artists creating have the look of someone in another world, their body is present, but their mind is elsewhere, on the page, in the stone, the paint, looking at something we can’t see until we get the finished creation. See the eyes of Rembrandt van Rijn and Michelangelo above and Vincent van Gogh below? Artist eyes. Eyes that say I-see-you instead of Do-you-see-me?
And when I say "artist", I include: musicians, writers, sculptors, dancers etc., although I resent that they can call themselves "artists" but artists can't call themselves dancers, musicians or writers etc.. 

What sometimes transports us, is the medium itself, the toothy texture of the paper, the feel of the pencil, its angles and the smell of soft graphite flowing smoothly on to the paper leaving a slight indentation. Or watching the brush wetly pull the color along just the way you want it, just where you want it. Or the glistening thickness of oil paint plumped up with linseed oil that looks so delicious you want to lick it. Or finding the exact word that conveys a mood or a whole phrase that jumps out under your fingers, full of rhythm and life. But mostly, it's the idea, the concept, the vision that carries us away.

From my own experience, I know the finished piece is not always what I had in mind when I started. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s not as good, mostly it’s different. So, whenever I see a painting or a sculpture or read a book, I wonder how different it is from the artist’s original idea and wish I could also see the original idea. But no matter the medium or the intent, the end result is the same for all creators: showing the world how to see things from your perspective.



Jeanine said...

Your third paragraph is gorgeous.

Have you noticed that kids have that same "look" when creating.
For myself, it's a focused daydream state. I feel a synergy occur from one word or phrase that sticks in my head, or one brushstroke from the perfect cobalt blue. It prompts another and another, soon that feeling comes over me and I am deliciously lost.
Yes, sometimes the path winds in a completely different direction than the original intent, but the landing is usually somewhere you wanted to travel.


Nora Lumiere said...

Thanks Jeanine.
Yes, I love that look of pure wonder on kids' faces.
Being in the so-called zone is a wonderful feeling, you can write and write and paint and paint and it's usually all good stuff.
I love when that happens.

J. said...

I ache everyday if I can't create. For me bliss would be being able to create all the time.

Nora Lumiere said...

I know what you mean. Right now, I have a beautiful Chinese cabbage in the fridge that I want to paint. My fingers are itching to get around a brush, but I have other thing to do first.
Perhaps if we could create all the time, it would become a chore. . .

N. L. Lumiere said...

From @ClodaghPhelan on Twitter November 17, 2014:

Thanks for interesting blog post. I enjoyed it. I didn't even do my usual thing and add to my reading list but read it immediately

N. L. Lumiere said...

Thanks for you comment, Clodagh.
I think an artist's face is the most interesting because they're not thinking, just creating. A writer is always thinking.