When we left off in my previous post “A Painter’s Creative Process: Part 1,” I was describing Verification—Step 5 of the creative process. As you may remember, Verification is the stage during which actual production takes place. For review, below is the graphic showing the process I have been delineating.
Based upon my experience as a painter, I felt that the Verification step needed to be expanded upon.
Within the Verification/Production step, particularly as the work nears completion, the creator seeks internal Confirmations—step 5a, as well as external Validation—step 5b. These steps of internal Confirmation and external Validation are subsets of Verification. They are visually depicted below.
This is an important part of the creative process, because we painters need and want to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our work. I refer to it as “activating my internal editor.” During this stage, we make artistic decisions about what we need to improve or change, as well as determine if we have attained our objective with the painting.
This is also when we can take the opportunity to seek external validation, if we choose to do so. Seeking feedback from others can come in various forms, such as showing our work to: fellow artists, friends, family, social media and at group critiques. Choose the form that best suits your level of experience and the kind of feedback and validation you want. (Many artists have written about this subject and role feedback plays. I encourage you to peruse these articles/book chapters for more information.)
I Added A Missing Step in the Creative Process
Through the continued study of creativity, I noticed a missing step the experts had not identified in their models of the creative process—at least an important step that was inherent in my experience and I am sure one you can relate to. After Verification—step 5 and before Hibernation—step 6, a process of “letting go” of the original idea must take place.
I added a step acknowledging the severing of ties with each of my paintings, in other words, the transferring of ownership. I asked myself, “How would I categorize the releasing of my investment after I have processed the validation from others and myself?”
It is also during this phase that I give myself permission to be pleased (or not) with my accomplishments and to celebrate the moment. It designates the end or that I have finished a painting.
During this stage, the work can achieve closure via being sold, given away, delivered to a gallery, exhibited in a show or simply hung on the wall for display. The important milestone is that some form of closure has occurred. I took liberties and added a step calling it Separation, and moved Hibernation—to step 7. Does this makes sense to you? You can see it visually delineated here.Once the process or project is complete, we then experience a form of Hibernation—Step 7, in order to make the transition into the next creative process.
After a solution has been found, birthed and weaned, the painter’s well is usually dry. Fallow time is needed before we spring onto the next idea, much like the season of winter. Oh, how I found this to be true! Too often I have rushed to the next creation, not realizing I needed to step back and take a deep breath.
Do you hibernate or engage is some activity that serves as the transition from the completion of one painting to beginning of a new one? If so, share it with us.
The Creative Process Summary
In summary, here are the delineated steps, based on my research and experience:
- First Insight—the original thought or problem to solve;
- Saturation—the gathering of resources;
- Incubation—unconscious and conscious ruminating;
- Illumination—the Ah, hah! moment;
- Verification/Production—the resolution.
- Confirmation—internal critique
- Validation—external feedback
- Separation/Letting go—closure and transferring of ownership
- Hibernation—the time of rest and restoration after the process is completed.
The opening reception for my show “Beyond the Surface,” is this weekend. Reflecting upon the creation of this series, which took 10 months to create, I can see all of the steps of this creative process in action. I have enjoyed the ride.
How would you alter the process I have delineated? Which steps make sense to you and which don’t? What insights did you gain?
In Part 3 of this series, I will review where creatives stop in the process and why. There are two places. Subscribe to my blog to receive this next post.
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