You will never really know where the road leads. Just begin somewhere!
A creative life for some is a clear and direct track. My journey has been a labyrinth. A collection of trails that have often converged in unexpected ways, and an array of shiny new paths that came to a full stop.
I have been described as a fearless creative. I dive into artistic processes with total abandon, fully engaged and ready to explore and experiment. That’s the ‘how,’ and my only ‘why,’ is that “art makes the world a better place,” certainly for the creator and I hope for the art receiver as well.
In late 2015, I found myself in a creative crisis. The thoughts that were running through my head, “It has all has been done before. There is nothing I can do to add value to the world.” These words have crossed the minds of many artists, usually when they are confronted by the proverbial fork in the road. My catalyst was my mother’s sudden and all-consuming illness. After her passing, I was drained and empty of any desires. It took over 18 months before I could even hold a thought of making art again.
It was the birth of my first grandchild in 2019 that presented a fresh new focus. Carrying only my iPad and Apple Pencil, I set off by plane to meet him. He was and is, the most enchanting being of awesomeness. During that first meeting, I imagined telling him stories through art. Messages that I would leave behind for him to discover throughout his life. While he napped I started following Skillshare courses and learned Procreate and eventually made him a special version of the poster called, “Life’s a Safari”. That spark took me unexpectedly and passionately down the new road of digital painting and a whole new creative adventure evolved into the art you find on www.lorettabusch.com
It may appear from time to time that our lives are only grains of sand tossed by endless waves. But the connections we make in birth, life, and death can continue to guide us. Life will tumble us around until it stops. During those difficult moments I say, “what is it that you want from me?” and then I surrender and listen for that curious voice and a new unexpected perspective. I have learned that there is a purpose around every corner.
Step 1 – Become a shadow-artist, that’s what Julia Cameron author of The Artist’s Way, would call it. Let YouTube art videos become an obsession. I went from BBC Art History documentaries to watching Floral Bowley’s expressive, spontaneous process of painting. Watch them enough and curiosity will eventually draw you in.
Step 2 – Push and pull some paint around. The act of painting is seductive and non-objective abstraction offers freedom, while colour is the drug. The poet Lisa Robertson wrote: “Colour, like a hormone, acts across, embarrasses, seduces. It stimulates the juicy interval in which emotion and sentiment twist.”
Kandinsky found music to be his muse, it guided his process and directed the line, form, and entangled emotions of colour. The intangible expressions became canvas portals into new realities. For Kandinsky art was an “alternative pathway to a spiritual reality.” He was a follower of Theosophy, (an intriguing story for another blog post, all about how mysticism influenced Abstract Art, a topic never acknowledged when I was in art school.)
Step 3 – Open the mind. The Post War abstractionists were the art rebels of the time embracing the interconnectedness of art, culture, and science. They played with color, space, atmosphere, movement, and emotion. They collaged commentaries on culture, explored the essence of composition, and dissected the science of visual perception. They engaged us to see and question even the simplest expressions of line and shape, and the physicality of drips of paint. All mark-making had a purpose and science that added to the evolution of thought and art.
Step 4 – Explore the intangible. Study shape and form for it develops the eye and hand. But let things evolve, and change, and don’t define or constrict. Eric R. Kandel in ‘Reductionism in Art and Brain Science, says we are forced to use our brain in new ways when we look at abstraction.
Clarify the terms Abstract vs Abstraction: Originally the terms had different intents, but today the meanings are blurred.
Cubism is subjective and abstract, it has some kind of person, place, or thing, but the artist chooses to express the subject in a new altered way, and with different viewpoints. The most familiar cubist was Picasso.
Abstraction is a non-objective, intangible expression, emotional, atmospheric, and meditative like the drip paintings of Jackson Pollack.
Explore & Grow
An artist’s growth comes from processing the skills of art-making while reflecting on life. It doesn’t matter the subject they choose; portraits, landscapes, still-life, political commentary. The techniques whether abstraction, expressionism, illustrative, representational, or collage, all are flavours of the artist’s message. I define, the artist’s motivation as either an introverted communicator reflecting on beauty, joy, and love and/or an extroverted making a commentary on culture/society/politics. The style is the artist’s unique way of seeing. Mastery comes with time and maturity. Start Somewhere.
Art History Documentaries
- https://www.youtube.com/c/ColourinyourlifeAu/videos Graeme Stevenson (Colour in Your Life) he tours around and visits artists’ studios
- Brian Rutenberg https://www.youtube.com/user/thomgains1727/videos
- Jane Davies https://www.youtube.com/user/jdaviesVT/videos
- Concerning the Spiritual in Art Wassily Kandinsky Link
MOMA also has some fun free courses if you want a more in-depth study. I enjoyed “In the Studio: Postwar Abstract Painting” https://www.coursera.org/learn/painting
Eric R. Kandel Reductionism in Art and Brain Science http://cup.columbia.edu/book/reductionism-in-art-and-brain-science/9780231179621