Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Creative Process - Mind Games

Dawn Banishing the Night by Jacqui Binford-Bell

I have been talking and writing for some weeks about getting back to painting. It always brings up the question as to why I haven't painted seriously in several months. And it has a lot to do with Missions - the adobe church type. Missions were always my biggest sellers. It was something that tourists to New Mexico liked as I was faithful largely in my rendering of the church architecture. And I did them in smaller, more affordable sizes. But they were never my first love. Or even my second.

Lamentations of the Spirits below was one of my favorites. And one of the paintings of mine which won prizes and acclaim. And in which I had invested some of my spirit. Like my "Goddess paintings" like the one above it was in my opinion creative.

Lamentation of the Spirits by Jacqui Binford-Bell
Anyone can paint a church. And there are a lot of churches to paint. Lots of people's houses, lots of their pets, endless flowers. I am not even fond of photographing all those things except as an exercise in the technical aspects involved like getting the pet to sit still.

But the paintings I invest my soul in don't sell as fast and the cute churches. I got to a crossroads. Mass produce churches or not paint. But after doing Stampede I knew I could not give up painting.

Stampede by Jacqui Binford-Bell

But what to paint? I took the sabbatical I wrote about in a previous blog on the creative process. I photographed and took my photography seriously, and I sketched possible paintings. I am working on three sketches for three paintings at this time. And thinking about them a lot. The old me would go from drawing board to production line by now. I had gotten into the "produce for fairs" mind set. But I am not doing fairs now. Just entering exhibitions. Stampede has been entered in one.

Artistically I like my three sketches equally. And I may end up doing all three. But I am most fond of the one with the old vintage car. But I want it to say something to me at least. So there sits the sketch on the drawing table. But it is alive in my dreams too. Mentally I add and subtract things from that sketch. There is a Route 66 sign that was not in my photograph. Photographs were always my launch point. They have only recently been a destination as well. But I digress. Back to that sketch. Now I am toying with a mirage and a skull.

Who knows what will go in and what will come out. And there is sketch two in the back of my mind. It began as one thing and is morphing into another. So lately when people ask when I am going to paint again I am tempted to say I am already. I am painting in my mind these two sketches. Where, after all, does a painting begin? At conception or when you put paint to canvas?

I lived with Horace, my borrowed horse skull, and my memories of Dead Horse Mesa for a long time before I painted Stampede. The same thought process went into the other two paintings. Mind games are every bit as important to the creative process as the paint and canvas. And producing for fairs does not allow me enough mind time.

So as we approach another summer art season look for me at my studio either painting on canvas or in my mind as I tend my garden.


  1. great to see Stampede and it is wonderful--you are wonderful :)

  2. I enjoy all of your paintings, Jaqui :)


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.