Please understand here, that no one person can speak for all those blind artists out there and tell exactly how they go about creating a work. I can say something about my own self and I’m sure it would pretty well relate to many other blind or partially sighted artists and their ways of creating art.
Let’s start here, It is said, Literature is the means by which the world attempts to understand itself. Art is the means by which mankind attempts to express itself. Inspiration is the spark by which expression is inflamed. And creativity is the light or result of the flame of inspiration.
Now, Everything worth its thought must have a foundation . This simply means that every idea springs from a source and if one were to trace that idea back, it would most likely lead to an original source or starting point. A work of art emerges forth from a source and flows into the imagination generator, where it is energized into a plan or possible creation.
This entire process might be called inspiration but even this spark of inspiration must come from somewhere.
Every human mind has the sparks of inspiration flying around within its existence but sparks do not always start fires. It takes something more than sparks to set the action of creativity into motion. This ability to take a spark and turn it into a light admitting fire and bring warmth and light into the life of others is the summation of an artists work.
The artists mind is always on the prowl for insight, inspiration and ideas. He is familiar and alert to the sparks of inspiration and in some cases its the flash of a great falling star. But the creative energy begins with some kind of awareness working within an artist mind.
An artist is a hunter, an explorer, a scientist and an inventor all tied up into one being.
Creative minds do not let events or circumstances pass them by without reaching into them, and grabbing something from them. The artists mind works in a very different manner and is always working and searching out, and probing into, you might say, things, for the sake of inspiration.
The difference between a creative mind and just a mind that works is difficult to measure. Why would some children on a beach just dig a hole while another builds a very nice sand castle. Of course the sand castle takes a lot more thinking, planning and imagination. And these two different efforts would indicate a different mind set; and so to with the mind of a creative person verses just an ordinary get along mind.
I will begin this question of creativity using a process that is now going on with one of my very own works. I recently stretched and prepared a 6 foot square canvas and laid out a basic pattern of shapes using a black masking tape. This tape is highly contrasted against my white canvas and I use this as a guiding reference point too help me see the different areas of the canvas. Within these heavy dark lines I lay out an entire work, having the picture first formed in my mind. It is now broken down into individual sections so to better manage the area I am working in. these smaller areas are then crisscrossed with thicker lines of acrylic glue, strings and threads, and certain things might be set off with tacks or pins. The picture is generalized up to a point and once I begin my creative process, the powers of mind, imagination, inspiration, ability and challenge will begin to insert themselves into my core idea and slowly force direction and alter perceptions and a new work will come into existence.
However, as I was finishing up another larger painting I kept walking by this prepared canvas and within a week or so, I decided or saw something else. My ideas slowly began to rearrange those tapes and lines, and just a few days later I completely changed them to fit an entire new picture.
The original picture was going to be 7 water falls, falling into one deep canyon but this canvas will now be a background of brilliant blues with a center point of light. Then over laying this entire canvas will be one giant oak tree. Why one giant oak tree, I do not really know. But what changed my mind from seven waterfalls to one giant oak?
I really cannot say. Maybe it was just the size of the canvas and somehow my minds eye saw a great oak filling it up. But I think it was a conversation about family from long ago while we were driving and someone pointed out and made comment about a giant oak standing up with the sunset blazing behind it. They described it as silhouetted in the haze and this might have over ridden the water fall idea. I’m thinking right now, why did I decide to go blue on background?
Well, one reason might be that I love the color blue and I so happen to have a lot of containers of blue, in all shades. But somehow in my minds eye, I see a brilliant blue with many shades forcing this giant oak to stand its ground and obscure the blue and allow the oak to dominate the entire canvas.
I will say that as I begin this work, it might just change again as I begin laying down the paint .
For me the ideas are not the greatest troubles. For my mind is constantly working and creating new pictures and creations but the trouble is that I will not have enough time to ever transfer those ideas into reality by placing them onto canvas.
Ideas are not the problem for me but sorting through those multi levels of sparks and choosing an inspiration that is strong enough to endure my level of impatience and limited ability and that is my greatest challenge. I must be sure that I begin a work that I will both enjoy and fully give myself over to. I am always trying to collect idea kindling so that when inspiration strikes, I have prepared myself to turn it into a roaring blaze.
Direction here is significant, for I have a saying, “One Degree in the beginning makes all the difference in the end!”
Therefore in my experience of blind order, its best to have a plan based and a vision to guide your creative powers into a harbor of completion. It is like taking a journey on a sail boat without knowing where your going. The boat is your desire, ability and power, while the wind is as if inspiration. And that wind can take you to many places but you just might end up somewhere you didn’t want to be and its very difficult to get back to home port.
An artist must exercise some control over his own inspirations and use his creative abilities wisely. In other words an artist must learn to harness his creative powers and focus them onto or into a work. For time can wear a mind ragged and then abandone it unfulfilled because inspiration drove the artist off his course while his creative powers kept on changing his direction until he was lost and out of paint!
The worst thing to do to a real inspiration is to let the fire of creativity die half way to dawn. To have your kindling struck by the spark of inspiration and burst into a flame is wonderful but to be able to make that fire burn until the dawn of completion arrives takes a lot of work. This effort is what makes inspiration and creativity join forces and blend and become a work of art.
A blind artist faces a very different problem in this process of creativity. For often it might be a lack of confidence and the thought of humiliation and rejection of his or her efforts. Again, if a blind or partially sighted person is just using art as a hobby or creative past time, hey, no problem. But if that person ever seeks approval or validation from others, that person enters a whole other realm of challenges.
Having a creative mind is one thing but doing something with it is another thing. Some creative minds had no intention of ever becoming famous or recognized but through a chain of circumstances their work became recognized and in this recognition came the title of, Artist!
Ok now, a week has past since I wrote down my ideas on the blue background. Well, I have begun the work but guess what folks, it has turned into a full green background with a huge full moon set into all these shades of green. What happened you might ask?
Its spring here in Oregon, I actually got out of the house a few days back between rain storms, and was struck with green light. Green shades and light glaring from everywhere. And the season of change hit me and instead of having a general source of rising light I thought a full golden, green butter yellow moon shining through the entangled branches of the oak might help me in setting off the giant oak with greater contrasts.
So was I inspired to a new level or just simply changed my mind? Whatever it was, this blind artist must get back to exercising his creative ability, so for now, get going and do something with your creative powers before the fire of inspiration dies and you never see the dawn of satisfaction!
Prepare your kindling to receive the spark of inspiration and get to work creating!
Michael M. Michaelson has created http://www.ticktalk.net and http://www.outofsightcreations.net, using Freedom Scientific software. The sites serve as a creative outlet containing new stories for those seeking something a little different, and his on line art portfolio offers everyone the opportunity to purchase outstanding works by a blind artist.
Michael, along with his works of art enjoys self-publishing and has more than twenty-three of his own publications for sale, as well as many free reads and places for other writers to publish their works on these sites.