Self Talk Behind the Easel

Rod Jones Artist Behind the Easel

Room to let, reads the sign in the window in a so-so neighborhood of London’s Finsbury Park. The empty room conjures up vacant space. What I; or we feel when staring down a large white vacant canvas. 

The real fun begins when you are in the zone running on all 12 cylinders, with the muse on your shoulder, egging you on to delusions of grandeur. What a masterful work of art is revealing itself right before my very eyes. My brush dances uncontrollably over the canvas; a dab of color here, a swish of paint there, all deliberately executed brushstrokes meet the canvas with conviction. 

Then; and I mean THEN; the not so predictable— predictable happens. Thoughts drift away, thoughts abandon, creative thoughts move into that empty space, an empty room; to an uncomfortable engaging drift. Meandering in a stroll like fashion. Your brain becomes a vagabond. Hopscotching thoughts; remembrances from childhood. Perpetually reappearing thought, in and out vacant rooms. When I was growing up I worked in a small town grocery store one of my jobs was just stock the shelves which included adding the price to each item, can or package with a grease pencil. I can still remember, 5 pound bag of C&H sugar $.79, Oreo cookies $.25. You must think it be 1900, try the 60s. My thinking vacillated; what was I thinking during those many hours of putting cans of peas $.24, cans of sauerkraut $.36 on the shelf.

Think about what you think about. I certainly wasn’t thinking about the job at hand and the fluctuating price of groceries, cost of living etc. It would not be too difficult to imagine a young boy in his teens daydreaming about girls and so it was; mixed in with the car I was fixing up in anticipation of the day I would have my drivers license.

Self Talk behind the Easel. Everything is rolling along… . pleasurably. I navigate between thoughts of creative bliss, inspirations from another dimension and my own “Receptive Abstract Patternism” then the unforgivable; my mind drifts into neverland.

And just where is this concentrated cavernous abyss? Plaguing me and I suspect many creative people. The thoughts that impose upon the conscious reality, provide an uncanny respite from creative concentrations that dull the process. 

Ask yourself— isn’t there something magical when your mind drifts into random thoughts; I don’t mean worry that’s very debilitating. I mean pleasant remembrances or forecasts of future delights. Memories come in all shapes and sizes some are piercing and can trump up old scars, triggering emotional mood swings. Others are the ones causing a little smirk on one’s face, bagging others to query, “what are you thinking about; it must be wonderfully amusing.” Of course there are those that think you are simply losing it, especially if you are in front of an abstract painting that you have been working on for many hours with repetitive brushstrokes: And you smile.

My mind wanders everywhere when I’m creating, and I’m thankful. I believe the creative process benefits greatly. The airwaves are open, not cluttered by preconceived notions of self imposed creative strategies. The muse slips in purposefully and does her job, not hobbled. Having free reign to play. And then a wonderful work of art appears. Giving the artist the opportunity to take full credit and can comfortably say; in a lie to oneself, “I did that it’s all me.” even if I must reluctantly admit; I was thinking about everything but… when I was painting.