When I made the experimental piece in this video below, my intention was to emphasize the act of creating and the experimentation most of all. I’ve had the pleasure of doing some ambassador stuff for Artefex in the recent year or so, and each time, I try to share different things about the experience using the different surfaces. It’s not always about the finished piece necessarily, but to share a variety of things as I try out a new panel. This panel is an Artefex ChartaPanel (Strathmore 400 series paper adhered to an aluminum panel), so I’m using dry and water media – graphite, chalk, acrylic, and some ink pens.

As far as subject goes, when it comes to articles and videos I share, I’ve decided to really stick to focusing on celebrating the act of the creative process. I think in many of my articles I’ve posted here over the years, that’s tended to be my MO, but especially in this strange time of ai weirdness and who knows what’s ahead with it all, I feel it’s important to continue to share my love for the creative process itself. There’s so much to be celebrated when it comes to the act of creating.

I find the tactile quality to be so immersive, and with that comes the connection to the materials, the art, the surroundings, the self. I really enjoy the non-linear aspect of the experience too. How all things past, present and future and from different spaces collide in that moment of making something as our minds and bodies are in flow state and connecting in that way that only the tactile experience can. To be shaping something with our hands (or feet, or bodies, mouths/voices!) combined with our own thought in our own minds shows us who we are and when those non-linear thoughts and experiences present themselves during the process, we can truly see ourselves.

The act of creating is many times noted for its therapeutic quality too, which absolutely can be true, and so fulfilling in the ways that there can be room for all things human. To experience all the emotions that come with the carrying out of the process of making something is to experience all sides of what therapeutic can mean, and what being human can mean too. Without difficulty and challenges, we would not know what it feels like to have breakthroughs and successes. Without attentiveness to our art or craft, we may not see new paths forged and may not allow for room to discover new ways of working and seeing, even the seeing of different perspectives, and of course, the seeing of ourselves in the truest sense. Because, of course, we can never truly see ourselves in what we create if we aren’t really doing the actual creating.

To feel the synergy of spirit and body as we create something brings a true sense of accomplishment too. There is a learning and growing that is underscored by the effort we put into that hands-on experience and into the doing it ourselves. Getting through the pushing past the thoughts of doing something that requires learning can feel uncomfortable at times, but the sense of accomplishment is much stronger after having worked through it all instead of giving up and resorting to something else just doing it for us, or stealing the work of true artists and visionaries who have done all the hard work already. There is no sense of accomplishment in the stealing of others’ work, only a hollow and meaningless trail of visual proof of failing to believe in ourselves or to truly know what believing in ourselves even means and how that can feel.

The act of creating is fuel for living, truly living in a space where we are tapping into something deeper and more visceral, seeing what we humans are capable of means to push past what we know and to venture further into unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable spaces in order to eventually become familiar with them. We are not treating our experience as if it were an assembly line simply to get it done. We are seekers on an adventure in order to discover more and learn what we can do. In the moment of making our art, we are connected to all and to ourselves in a way that only this fuel for living is capable of doing. It’s not something to be hurried, but cherished and observed with care and thoughtfulness. The doing and creating of our art is time well spent.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also include the act of letting go and how that ties into the act of creating. To let go of a sense of what the outcome will be and to be truly immersed in the experience of making is what I’m sharing most when I share these. The videos of mixed media experimentation, getting my hands dirty, going in without a plan, spontaneous in nature but with knowledge from the years I’ve put in at constantly striving to excavate, ponder, and discover something new that challenges me. All of what goes into these is spontaneous but also an accumulation of what I know, what I am expressing and what I’m constantly gauging and responding to in a technical sense as well, what I’m uncertain of and what I roll with, and so many more aspects that mirror experiences in the bigger picture of life itself.

I’m grateful for the fulfilling experiences that the act of creating has brought me, and to be able to see it as a reflection that shows the honest hard work, experience and dedication involved in the process. Integrity is important to me, and no matter how messy these raw sketches might be to some or how misunderstood they might even be too, the act of making them, the creative process itself is truly one of the most human acts we can experience, so I believe sharing these raw and experimental process videos is also one of the truest forms of integrity I can think of, as they’re my own humble experience. Diving into the unknown, vulnerable and human and unfettered.

Stay creative out there, friends. Use your own minds, experience with your soul, share your own stories, keep creating and learning. Allow yourself to wholeheartedly enjoy the humanness that the creative experience has to offer.