It is wonderful when it happens; that day uninterrupted, when ideas bubble up, thoughts are finished and we get the feeling of completed satisfaction when it is done. I had two days like that this week in the studio. The end of summer. Pure bliss.
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the gift of time. For an artist it is essential. The biggest tip I can give anyone creative is to recognize that it takes a minimum of two hours to get into that place where the ideas begin to happen. It is that noodle time, that absent-minded putzing, when the creativity begins to flow.
When myself and some other artists were interviewed for the Concord Monitor newspaper for a series on creativity back in 2007, this is what I said:
“The sound of gurgling water, the feel of it warmed on my skin; the smell of flora and fauna and the delight of how it changes from season to season; soft rhythmic music in minor scales; observing the perseverance and ingenuity of man through art and invention…I am inspired by anything that moves me to a deeper contemplative space within me.
It is in this place where I can tune out my physical environment to envision the abstract and see relationships that I would not have normally seen – to invent. It is hard to describe this place. But it is one of deep concentration and ease, and I call it The Zone. It is when I am in the zone that I can do my artwork. And while not in the zone I can mechanically create work that follows some preset pattering I am used to producing. I feel it lacks a little luster, and my best work is when I am immediately inspired from within this place.
What I have described is what I think most artists need. So when you see us all seemingly absent-mindedly just walking around or puttering in the garden instead of “working”, what we really are doing is being inspired into the zone.”
My daughter told me this week that I am the quintessential absent-minded professor. I took it as a compliment; I was in the zone when she said it.