Falling into the unknown

While reading Trust the Process I am also working on a presentation for our local camera club, to be entitled "What if? Artful Adventures of an Inquisitive Photographer."  And, of course, given my annual mid-winter malaise, I am struggling to do any sort of art at all.

So I was encouraged to read this morning (how many different ways and times does this need to be said before I will hear it?) that perhaps instead of starting the creative process with a particular goal in mind, I need to express what I'm feeling, go with the flow and see where it takes me. 

This is relatively new territory for a photographer: so much of what we do is already in place; we simply have to find a way to capture what we see.  But to approach my work in this way is more equivalent to an artist approaching a blank canvas or a writer approaching a blank page. 

As a writer, I have learned to trust the process implicitly, but as an artist I really struggle -- quite possibly as an inadvertent result of having a critical artist mother -- with fear of failure.  But today I decided (despite constant intrusions from various family members dealing with car/weather/grocery/travel issues) to just start with what appealed, paint from image to image, and see where it might take me.

The end result is a combination of 6 different images in colors considerably more saturated than I generally prefer to work with.  But there's a tenderness here that tells me not to worry; that I am supported and loved as I struggle through to whatever new artistic endeavors may emerge -- or at least, that's how I'm seeing this.

So now I think I need to go back to that presentation I'm working on and somehow add this understanding to it: that there will inevitably be dark periods and struggles and failures, but that, as McNiff says in Trust the Process, "When I enact my angst and fears in an artwork, they become my partners in creation, and my relationship to them is transformed... By falling into the unknown, we can arrive at a new place in our life and work....Falling becomes a release, an immersion in the process of life.  Trusting the process brings a realization that miscues, mistakes, and failures make important contributions to the creative process."


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