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The Psychology of ARTWORK and Blending Realities

Self Portrait Drawing - Andrew Gable

Doing art for me throughout my life was always a very Self Reflective Process. In my 20’s as I got more into art and eventually studied it at school as a drawing major, it became more and more a tool that I would use to understand and investigate myself, where this way of approaching creating art in a way started to become my purpose within it. Art became a mirror through which I could reflect the world back to myself. What does this color mean? What does this posture mean? what does this abstract shape mean? and what does it say about me? What does it show me about myself?

So as I have walked my process as an artist, my interest in the psychology of art has burgeoned. What art can show us about ourselves or where art can become a tool to support ourselves as individuals and as humanity to become stronger and more effecitve is something that I have spent a lot of time considering and also creating actual works of art around.

Even when I look back at my older work where this interest to have my art be more aligned with psychology, mental health, the depths of human nature ect, wasn’t as concrete, I often will find pieces that I did are great tools now for me to reflect on and relate to the human experience in a way that does shed some light onto the mysteries of human consciousness, even though at the time of their creations I wasn’t 100 percent clear with what I was doing.

Internal Patterns Drawing By Andrew Gable

 

With the drawing I did above, I remember I wanted to create a face out of these sequences of abstract and semi-recognizable symbols, shapes, notations ect. Where in doing this I could represent the “inner appearance” of the being as well as the “outer appearance”. In looking at this piece recently I noticed an interesting point about human consciousness that I find holds true in my own life and awareness of myself today.

What I find for myself is that often times it is hard to distinguish between what is reality, and what is our interpretation of reality. What is truth and what is just merely our opinion.

What I have noticed about myself and my own life is that I will create ideas in my head about something that isn’t actually true at all.

let me take an example from my Art Career. I have had situations where I have engaged with a potential collector about purchasing a piece of art. And everything seemed to go really well and all is in agreement to connect at a later date to finalize the details. But then as a few days pass, I start to think they have backed out and eventually I come to the conclusion that “they aren’t going to buy a piece” and I am so sure of it, I believe it completely to the degree where I start reacting within myself, like feeling disappointed and basically thinking “maybe next time” Then, adversely to this idea I created, they contact me and are excited and move forward with purchasing a work of art they connected with.

In this situation my inner and outer realty become one and its hard to distinguish between what is real and true and what I am just making up in my own mind.

Now as a point of Direction within myself and my life, I have taken the approach to align myself and focus myself with What is Actually Real, as the Physical Facts, and to stop indulging in my mental reality because I have noticed how I can so quickly create false realities within myself which I become so preoccupied with that I cannot distinguish anymore that these ideas are simply existing in my head and not actually real which only becomes clear when reality asserts itself and shows  “see all that shit in your head was not actually valid” when the exact opposite of what I was certain would happen actually plays-out.

So the Drawing above called “Internal Patterns” illustrates this dimension quite nicely where you have the inner and outer structures of the face kind of seamlessly blending together where its hard to tell what is happening on the inside and what on the outside.

Its like this with our experiences of emotions and feelings as well, where it just all seems to merge seamlessly with our outer realities and we then think that it is our outer reality that is causing the inner experience maybe not seeing that our inner experiences are being triggered from a past memory or event or belief system that took years to create.

So just wanted to share this point that opened up when I was looking at this drawing “internal patterns”

View This Drawing on my Galley Here – http://andrewgableart.com/product/2745/

 

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Embracing Selling Your Art – The Final Stage of the Creation Cycle

 

original art for sale

One important part of my creative process as an artist is the part where I actually have to sell the work that I make. To me, in this day and age, selling the work is an important part of the creative cycle that initially begins with the conception of the work, then moves into the actual creation of the art work, and then finally closes upon the sale of the work,  which then fuels the next creative cycle to begin.

Selling my artwork wasn’t something I became interested in until about 5 years ago around which time I realized how selling the work was actually a part of the creative process in itself.

For me, learning to sell my work has been quite an education process.

3 years ago, I started working closely with an Art Gallery which represented my sculptural work. After a few months of working with the gallery, I began spending some time on the gallery sales floor selling the work in the gallery and selling my own work. That is, if I was able to.

I was so nervous in the beginning, and still to this day, I am still very much learning the whole sales process and how to do this effectively and with integrity. But those early days, whenever a customer would walk into the gallery, immediately within myself a surge of anxiety would shoot up into what felt like my entire body, and I would freeze and go into a fear. Now from the outside you might not notice this happening, but it was quite an internal experience to have happen each time someone walked into the gallery. But during this time, I had already made a decision within myself to Learn how to sell my art and so fundamentally I understood that this meant walking through that fear/anxiety experience. In practical terms, this meant, moving myself out from behind my desk, even though there was a ball of anxiety in my chest, and walking over to greet the customer. Often times the words coming out of me initially were a bit shaky, but It was actually a cool process to walk through what seemed like such an extensive amount of anxiety to within minutes be able to be standing there chatting with customers about the work feeling much more relaxed, calm, and stable, within myself. That anxiety and fear would eventually just go away once I pushed through that initial intensity of it and just say ‘Hello’ to the customers that walked in, and then push myself to start talking them about what ever I could find or just make up to get the conversation moving. Ultimately, it was my job now to make conversation, and so I just would dive in and start talking often, having no idea what I was about to say. I remember one instance where my words were so jumbled I couldn’t even understand what I was saying, but I just smiled, and they smiled, and I just moved on, and found some other point to communicate about.

I just knew that, getting over this anxiety was something I had to do and in the moment, the only way I knew how to do that was to just walk through it and face my fear in a way.

I have become much more comfortable over the past 2 years in speaking and interacting to customers but I definitely do see still emotional reactions that I can support myself to overcome.

Ultimately, I really enjoy the whole sales aspect of creating art and would encourage any artist out there to embrace this side of the creative process.

Original Drawing - Tree of Life by Andrew Gable

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Overcoming Creative Block and Becoming Inspired to Work

inspiration-exists-quote-picasso

The point I want to write about today is the point of Inspiration. The reason I want to write about this is because I find there is allot of misconceptions about inspiration. I often hear people talking about “waiting for inspiration” or “the don’t feel very inspired” and so because of this they end up not moving themselves. Or not doing something that they in fact would really like to do.

I discovered early on that inspiration is cool, it is a powerful force, though there is another force that is even more powerful than inspiration – YOU!

I do not require inspiration or motivation to work because I am the one who decides if I am going to work or not.

Its quite cool because many days I have no inspiration, and other days I do. Yet I work all the same.

Now through the years, I have refined this application and yes, it is still a work in progress where some days I get trapped by that whole ‘inspiration excuse’ where I just really really really don’t feel like working. And so I still have work to do to really take back my power so to speak.

I find this word ‘inspiration’ is often attached to creative work, and artists.

And then there is the whole concept of ‘writers block’ or ‘creative block’. But I have found for myself that this is no different than simply not wanting to do something. I have been grateful to have adjusted my approach to creating art to where I now align my application to PRINCIPLE not Inspiration, or if I feel like it or not.

I have created allot of my best art when I didn’t really feel like getting up and going to work, but I did, and I pushed through the resistance and got myself moving and then suddenly things weren’t all that bad and even often after I walk through that initial “feeling uninspired” and just got myself moving and working on what ever piece of art I had going for that day, that suddenly I was inspired.

So

In a way, I see that one has to become inspiration for themselves. Where one must create their own inspiration and not wait for it.

Yes, it might be tough, you might not feel like it, it might be uncomfortable, but its worth it!

So my suggestion when facing a creative block is to firstly realize that it could just be “you just don’t feel like doing anything” and that is not really creative block, that is just the plight of the human being who has become more inclined to instant gratification than disciplined self movement.

So my suggestion when facing creative block or facing that experience when you just don’t have inspiration, is to take a breath, gather yourself here, and remember that there is a force more powerful than inspiration – and that force is you and sometimes you just have to force yourself into movement, into action. Its normal, its natural, so dare to move and dare to improve . It’s a challenge, but why else are we here on planet earth. And this suggestion can be for anything, for something artistic, something business related, maybe you notice your environment is getting a little messy and you have been wanting to clean up. Perhaps we have given too much of our power away to this interesting thing called Inspiration. Now its time to realize that we must be the power that moves us through our lives. Inspiration is like luck, it may or may not play a part, so we must base our Living Expression and Actions on something more predictable and Stable, and that is US, our own SELF Movement and SELF Motivation and SELF Inspiration.

More Links about this

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/creating-in-flow/201209/10-creative-block-breakers-actually-work

http://www.artbizblog.com/2009/01/get-out-and-gain-inspiration.html

 

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The Carving Process – A Picture Timeline

 

Lets Do Some CarvingI have recently started a new project working as a stone carver in collaboration with Fathom Stone Art Gallery and Studio.
So here I am going to walk you through the carving process giving some insight into all that is involved in such a process.

Lets Get Started!

Phase 1

So the fist Phase is you start with a Stone, For this particular stone I had already before hand had a few ideas of what I would like to try out in terms of the position/posture of the bear I was going to carve. When I saw the shape of this stone, it was immediate where I could see ‘oh this would work for a standing bear’.

 

Phase 1 (768x1024)

 

 

 

 

So during phase one I find I really look at the rock, turning it and flipping it and looking at the natural shape of the rock to see how/if this already start to inform the shape the bear. This particular rock had one point that was kind of ‘sticking out’ form the rest of the rock that was already shaped like an elbow, and so I found I followed this ‘line’ and that eventually became the shoulder and arm of the standing bear.

 

 

 

 

Phase 2

Here I start to actually carve away the stone using an electric grinder. Basically here I was aiming at  establishing the ‘size’ of the head so that when I worked down from there that I would be able to proportionality fit in the rest of the bear. I had a few sketches that I had done, and also photo references that I was using as a basic guideline.

Phase 2b (768x1024)phase 2a (768x1024)

 

Phase 3

Here you can see the bear start to emerge. I found I more focused on establishing the basics of the head and then working down from there . I also found here that the natural cuts that the grinder makes creates a ‘fur like’ texture so at this stage i decided that I would see if I could keep some of those natural grinder cuts in the final piece to represent a tuft of hair around the neck of the bear.

phase 3 (758x1024)

 

Phase 4

So continuing with cutting away the stone with a grinder. This phase is also quite cool because you can not also start to see the natural colors and patterns of the rock start to emerge and get an idea of how these are going to look like on the final piece. Its kind of like unwrapping a present. This one has an awesome dark purple streak running along the back of the bear which creates quite a cool look.

phase 4 (768x1024)phase 4 front (754x1024)

 

phase 4b (768x1024)

 

phase 4a (764x1024)

 

 

Phase 5

Ok so now I am just about ready to take the bear into the Gallery and start the final cutting and then moving into sanding and polishing and doing the more finer details like the nose, eyes, ears etc. During this process I found each night I would often go and gather more references so that I could see exactly how for instance a bears ear looks like, or the way the arm muscles move in certain positions.

In the beginning I envisioned this bear standing on a rock, but as I walked the carving process I had to reassess things because as you can see this base was getting smaller and smaller and so around about this time I decided to take out the base completely and just have the bear standing on its own. This presented a new challenge which was to make sure the bear was Balanced! I had a few nervous moments where the thought entered my mind of ‘oh my god this bear is going to tip over’ but slowly but surely I adjusted and tweaked the bear and the position of the legs and arms so that everything was positioned and ‘sat’ in a balanced way. In the end the bear actually ended up being quite stable in this standing which is cool. I mean Sure-footedness is something that Id like for myself and my bear. To be Sure Footed, STABLE, Solid. So yes in the end I was quite satisfied with the overall Standing of the bear.

phase 5 sidea (768x1024)

Phase 6

Ok so Now I am have brought the bear into the Studio Gallery to do the final cuts and bring the the form to a finished point to then begin the sanding and polishing process. You can see in the image below that I have now cut off the base and the bear is standing on its own with a few adjustments required.

phase 6 bringing it in for sanding  (768x1024)

Phase 7

So the sanding and polishing phase is actually quite an extensive process. I probably spent probably over 20 hours on the sanding and polishing of this bear. Its can be tricky to get into all the groves and crevasses. This one was particularly tricky because of the ‘tuft of hair’ around the neck of the bear which had allot of intricate parts to sand and polish.

If you take a close look at the picture on the right you can see I started with the polishing process and started with the top and am here half way down. The polishing process is quite cool and really brings out the natural patterns and colors of the stone.

Phase 8 polishing - top half is polished (768x1024)20130523_084642 (768x1024)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

phase 7 more sanding (768x1024)

Final Phase

The final phase is where you say “there I am done” and then take it out and set it up and realize “oh shoot I missed a spot” I mean one can really go on forever in this stage, finding all the little scratches and things like that that you could keep adjusting and going over forever. And so in this phase you bring your piece back into the studio and do some real fine tuning.

 

phase 7 front (768x1024)

Phase 9aReady to go into the gallery (1024x768)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Final Phase

Finished and in the Gallery!

 

Phase 10a Going into the Gallery (768x1024)Phase 10 In the Gallery (768x1024)

IMG_4743

For more on fathom stone art gallery please see link – http://fathomstone.com/View_Gallery_Sculptures.html

Enjoy.

 

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Winter Landscape Painting

 

I have just returned from 2 days of landscape painting.

I have decided to keep this practice going as I find it to be beneficial on many levels.

One of the primary beneficial aspects of this is it support in the development of my “formal understanding” so to speak of painting.

when I am at home working on other more ‘conceptual work in my studio I have what I learned while landscape painting in terms of the “rules” of painting, color theory, etc coming in and ‘grounding’ what I am doing in the studio. So in a way Landscape painting becomes a form of a base to my Artwork.

Obviously there is more to it than that but that is one benefit I have found that comes through within doing “on site” or “en plein air” Landscape Paintings.

So this weekend I went out to a farm that is waaaaayyyyy out in the country…they don’t even have cell reception! My plan was to “Paint Snow!”

I have never really taken on this Challenge of painting snow and actually have found I have more of an “Anxiety” in relation to doing this. I have found that previously my snow paintings never seemed to work out…I would find the actual painting of the Snow part quite tough.

So as I am getting some New Paintings going the point is simply HERE to take on this point. Normally in the past I have waited until the summer/spring to do my landscape painting and would just skip the winter so atm I have decided to rather take this point on and get outside (warm clothes included) and do some en plein air painting.