I'm sure, most of you will recognise this painting by Salvador Dali, The Persistence of Memory, or as it is more commonly know - Soft Clocks.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with procrastinating and the creative process?
In my previous post, I alluded to having a reset button which helped me to stop procrastinating. I was very intrigued one day many years ago when reading about Dali's life and his painting process, to learn that he engaged in a process very similar to mine when he gets stuck in a painting.
What I have practised for many years now, when I cannot see a way forward in the painting I am working on, is to will go and sit down in a comfortable chair and look at my work. As I sit there, often I may even start to drop off into a microsleep or some such thing. All of a sudden I will jerk awake and the knowledge has dropped into my head of what to do next.
So you can imagine my surprise when I read that he used to practice almost the same technique as me. He would sit in the chair but he would also have a metal spoon and a dish with him. He would place the metal dish on the floor and then sit down with the spoon held loosely in his hand, the hand resting above the dish. He might stare at the painting or close his eyes and as his conscious awareness receded, his grip on the spoon would lighten and it would fall into the dish making a clattering noise. Upon hearing that he would start awake and proceed to get up and work on his painting, as he now knew what to do.
I couldn't believe it when I came across the story about him, as I had been practising this for several years before reading about it.
It is my firm belief that when we create we, do not do so alone, but rather in conjunction with the creative forces of the universe. So it would appear that when Dali and I sit in contemplation of our work, we enter a meditative state which opens us up to accessing this universal energy and being able to then subconsciously channel that information into the paintings.
To some it might appear that we were sitting there doing nothing or procrastinating, not getting on with the job, however this far from the truth. The creative process I have discovered, cannot be rushed and in fact, the more I try to do that the more resistant it becomes.
So next time you are feeling stuck with your creative endeavour, try this out and see how it works for you. I would love for you to share your stories here.
Do you have any special creative rituals that help you in your art practice?