Big Joan, little Joan
Every artist has different ways into the picture
Finding out what is right for you is part of the artistic work.
The process is part of the work.
How often have you experienced that what works for others doesn’t work for you and you feel bad about it?
With others it always looks easier.
Others seem to have the trick.
Only you can’t get it together.
Finding out what makes you creative is the main prize.
You need to look at yourself openly and without prejudice.
The artist Joan Mitchell has found out what works for her.
She works on the basis of feeling.
That sounds normal at first because we assume that artists express their feelings. But when it comes to really trusting the feeling, we quickly fall on ice and hold on to things we can see and touch.
Yes, there is something incredibly satisfying about being able to depict something.
But getting involved with the feeling side of painting is like a rafting trip. There is always a new perspective and the ride is sometimes fast and sometimes slow. We are not always the same and our feelings change.
How did Joan Mitchell deal with this?
She reported in interviews that she fixes and stores impressions and experiences in her mind like a still image. She does not take the snapshot with her camera, but with her memory.
The possibilities of expression expand when we paint from memory. In memory we are connected with our experience. The photo can be perfectly reproduced – and I don’t want to deny that this is a great art – but the pure feeling cannot be transported in a satisfying way.
Where is the solid ground for an artist?
For Joan Mitchell, it is feeling. The place in herself where she has access to her feeling. She entrusts herself to this feeling and describes how she loses herself in devotion to this inner reaction and feels happiness.
I found this remarkable: that happiness can be found in self-forgetfulness.
This is how I feel when I paint in front of the camera and want to show something. Then I don’t think about making art, then I step out of myself and beside myself. Then I often succeed in making pictures effortlessly.
Watch this video on Joan Mitchell talking about the little and the big Joan! Are you familiar with that controversy inside yourself?
These are Joan Mitchell`s ways into the picture:
Let yourself be guided by your feeling when you paint.
If you get stuck in between, look at nature and let it inspire you.
Instead of depicting nature, scan inwardly the impression that moved you.
Lose yourself in the process.
What are your ways into the picture?