MY CREATIVE PROCESS
I’m not sure I really have one! I’ve always loved to make marks on paper. My Mom told me that my first word was “Me, Me” which meant, “Give me a pencil!” I never had real art lessons as a youth because no art classes were offered in Arkansas schools at that time. My first real training came at the Kansas City Art Institute, where I felt so far behind because the other students came from cities and states that offered art classes. This was back in the 50’s.
At any rate, I persisted, and took all the art classes I could in college and afterwards, becoming a certified art teacher myself, ending up with a doctorate in secondary art education. I’m probably a better art teacher than I am an artist! However, nothing keeps me from drawing and painting. How do I get my ideas? From nature, mainly. I see something that interests me — a plant, bright flowers, a bare tree, a group of trees, the shapes of the landscape, and I take photos. I use my sketchbook to plan out a composition that pleases me. Lines and shapes, contrasts of light and dark, patterns and intense colors get me going! Sometimes I get ideas from what I read in newspapers and books or what I see other artists doing. But I don’t copy — my training at KCAI will not let me do that!
As far as media go, I do just about everything but oil painting (takes too long to dry, and I don’t like the smell). My subject matter includes landscape and still life, with some animal portraits. I can do people and portraits, but not too fond of that. Lately, I’ve been doing some pet portraits in scratchboard on commissions. When I work in color, I like to use pastel, watercolor, or acrylic, but when I draw, I like the technique of pen and ink and/or scratchboard. There is something about scratching out or making lines that fills my soul with enjoyment. It’s so meditative. A lot of my work incorporates both drawing and painting in the same image.
It might be useful to know that I always have 3-4 artworks in process at the same time. I have so many ideas, that I start several at the same time. I’m the same way about reading books — I always start another book before finishing the first — especially one of fiction and one of non-fiction. I love reading history and detective novels. I think I’m ADD, but then, aren’t all artists?
Here is one image from my “Bare Tree” series. Notice how the background colors can be seen through the pen and ink drawing of the branches. Also, note the breakup of the background into rectangular shapes and tones. I do this a lot in my artworks. If you want to see more of my artwork, go to my web site: http://www.staffordart.com – I just finished updating it. Thanks for reading! Send me comments, please.