I am always fascinated whenever I can listen or read about an artist's creative process. I come away feeling inspired as ideas begin to swirl in my own imagination. After creating this image, I thought it would be a good idea to share my process as well as well as the meaning of it all.
There are times when I have some idea of a concept before I actually sit down and begin to create a new work. I even have a couple of not so blank books where I keep track of inspirations from dreams, meditations or something that pops into my head during my morning walks. It's amazing how fresh air and exercise can remove brain fog and ideas start popping one after the other. That's why I have to write them down. There are those days that come and I haven't any clue what I feel like creating but I know I need to start working on something, anything. There is something lurking within me that needs to be expressed and I have to see it through. That's when I sit here and start going through my photo files. I usually begin with a main subject and that means I look through images of models I have photographed. It can be a bit tedious until I find the one that makes me say, that's it!
This process continues as a story begins to emerge. On this piece, once I had the main subject with her parasol, the ruin and the large rock she sits on, I knew the story. I added the ghostly figure, clouds, water, shells, fossils, text, plants, birds, fish with the octopus as my final touch.
I also love to include layers of textures that can help add cohesion. I adjust the colors, opacity, exposure, and sizes of everything with each addition. I knew I wanted lots of blues, blacks with just a little of the purple streaking through. All in all, this one piece took about 15 hours to complete.
Once I had the rock and main figure in place, I knew I wanted to create a piece about searching for fossils. A favorite book that I read last year, "Remarkable Creatures", by Tracy Chevalier, comes to mind almost every trip I take to the coast. Images that the book created in my imagination of a woman searching for fossils on the coast of England back in the early 1800's is the inspiration for this piece.
Part of my process is also determining what this image means to me. What am I trying to express and share with you? The main subject represents calm and preparedness. She's not separate from the scene. She is integrated as part of the whole. The ghostly figure represents the past, an ancestor standing in the midst of a ruin acknowledging change and passage of time as do all of the fossils embedded in the rock and throughout the landscape. The water represents the subconscious and delving deeply into the past to discover the present. The birds represent messengers as they appear to be flying between two worlds and my favorite, the octopus represents fluidity, flexibility and adaptability.
"The only way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance." I had forgotten this quote from Alan Watts or at least thought I had. It decided to surface in this new piece.
Now, I need to settle on a title for it. I am considering, Searching for Fossils, Remarkable Creatures or Adapting to Change. Feel free to add a few titles of your own. If I choose one of yours, I will send you a card with this image. This will be available as a fine art print in the size of 14"x14". Send a message if interested.