Letting Creativity Flow

The less contrived the work, the easier it transpires. This might seem strange, surely the more you work at something the greater the result? Sometimes. But other times we try to control creativity too much.

I spent hours and hours, on my initial pieces. Much of this time was laced with contemplation, hesitation and measuring: intent on the creation of exactness. I decided on the finished form before I started and was hell bent on achieving it no matter what. The resultant contrivance ironically felt far removed from the intended inventive creation. Perhaps this is a necessary step for skill building. I certainly learnt a lot from it.

So what do I mean then "The less contrived, the easier it transpires"? We've all had a moment when we can't put a name to a face. Try as we might, even going through the alphabet, we can't extract the knowledge from our mind. In fact, the harder we try the worse it gets. But as soon as we stop trying, even think of something else, as if by magic, there it is: the name shouts out to us. So too, I've found, is the nature of creating sculpture, or any art for that matter.

Beyond the thought of wanting to model a horse or a figure, my starting point is now literally picking up a piece of soft wax. For this I use a cream modelling wax similar in feel, albeit slightly stiffer, to Plasticine.

The beauty of this substance is that you can move it around freely. There's no need to cover or dampen it between sittings (as with clay) and you could come back to it after months and still work on it. Ideal then for simply playing with an idea.

As I start to tease out limbs, body and head, the wax will suggest a form and I run with it. In the same way that the 'name- to- face answer' appears when not thinking to hard about it, so the creation of form presents itself. Likewise as the figure, say, is developing, the gesture taken on by the hands or feet or the expression just appears. The effort of work is no less: it's got to look, be, right and for that hours will again be spent, but the manifestation slips through to the piece with ease. The end result freer.