This past summer we experienced a “small” event here in Nashville called the Great Solar Eclipse of 2017. As eclipse day grew closer, the news became almost hysterical about the impending full solar eclipse. And for once, they didn’t exaggerate. It was the most inspiring thing I’ve witnessed. I was left in a state of awe.
How God put all this together was awe-inspiring. It also provided an idea for my first post after a summer off. Fall hath commenced. Let’s start this year’s blogging season with
Don’t let anyone or anything remove your sense of “artist awe”.
What is awe?
Awe, according to the dictionary, is an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime. Gee, that’s sounds pretty artsy doesn’t it? Those should be art terms that rank up there with value, temperature, and composition. Right? Truth be told, maybe they should rank higher than the ordinary art terms.
I think a sense of awe informs ones art. A sense of awe is inspiration’s underpinning. Awe is an artist’s creative starting line. The old adage that a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step, then creativity starts with a sense of awe.
Have you ever lost a sense of awe?
I admit I have. Sometimes we, as artists, can get jaded in our day to day activity of creating art. Yup, another field. Yup, another sunrise. Yup, another cow (moo). Where am I painting today? Nuts, the value is off. Where did my sun go? I forgot my Gamsol. Now what. The list of distractions can be almost endless.
Simple creative hack to get awe back
May I offer a simple creative hack I use to get my awe back when it wanders off. It’s really simple. When the “process of making art” threatens to remove my sense of awe — I stop what I’m doing and simply “observe” what’s in front of me. Simple observation has never failed me yet.
Look at that light. Look at that tree gently swaying in the breeze. Look at the leafs skittering by. Maybe it’s that impish cow trying to lick your tripod. (Don’t laugh, the “ladies” have fussed over me more than a few times and it never ceases to bring a smile on my face.)
Go ahead. I give you permission to put the brush down, step back from the canvas (unless you’re on a precipice) and visually drink in what’s in front of you. That sunrise, forest, or cow will never be the same again. You can never step into the same stream twice. It can’t be done. But you can always enjoy that moment. Regain a sense of awe of what’s in front of you. You are creating something that’s never existed before. Think about that for a moment.
My wife says I’m her budding physicist because I now study how light affects objects. The guy who never took a physics class is reading about the physics of light and how the eye sees. I then go stand in a field or urban setting looking at it all as new again, as if some big rain storm has cleaned everything off. I’ve even forgotten to paint at times. Oops.
This blogging season I want to share with you my sense of awe as, together, we create our best art yet. It’s a journey. Enjoy the process. Help each other by sharing your thoughts on the posts and let’s build a sense of community. Remember: “Plein air. It’s about problem solving.”
Feel free to comment and engage with each other. Be nice and have fun with it. Go ahead, be “awe”some.