When I step into my studio, it is usually because I have connected with a thought or idea, either through reading, music, or my own reflections. Something has stirred in me and I want to express what it means. I want to create an image of the idea, not a thing. Sometimes I will find a way to incorporate quotes or poetry – sometimes not.
All of the materials await. My crate full of tiles is there full of blank and shiny potential. My inks stand in a circle, arranged in a full spectrum of color. Canvases, congregate in various sizes against the wall. My makeshift air compressor sits on the floor with its long rubber tubing coiled up like the kind of snake I don’t mind touching, and the mini-torch waits patiently on the tray beside my blending solutions. Paper towels, cotton swabs, and alcohol spray are ready, too. Some days I light the big red candle, especially if the sun is not up, put on traditional flutes music, and just begin. Painting is my meditation.
I like to use the forces of nature to create. Fire is my favorite, but I also love forced air, movement, centrifugal force, and gravity. Rarely do I directly touch the canvas or tile with tools like brushes or pens, although I have been known to use a blending stick for emphasis or to clarify a boundary. Now and then a gel pen or a fine paintbrush will help to create a tiny, necessary element, like a dot for an eye, or the fine thread of a butterfly’s leg. Mostly, however, I prefer to not touch. There is something exciting about watching the medium respond freely, keenly aware it has much say in the matter, making choices of its own. It goes where and how it needs to go with the help of flames, wind, or movement.
Sometimes I stop and look, trying to understand what might come next. I don’t try to reshape or force something different to happen. There is another force, and it’s in charge of me. Sometimes I even cry, the way you can’t help crying when you are finally face to face with someone you have missed for a very, very long time. Sometimes I wonder if this is normal at all. I wonder if crazy is a place, and am I going there? I wonder if my mind is slipping over the edge because I silently ask the painting what it needs and I try to oblige. Then I look at the all of the colors dancing and I know that, if this is where crazy is, I’ll stay.
This is my art.
This piece was first published under the title "Surrender" at CharitySingletonCraig.com.
Written 10.20.15 in my earliest days of daily art. Alcohol ink was my primary medium and I rarely touched a brush. This practice went on for three full years until suddenly all I wanted was watercolor, and brushes, and a new surrender.