The Experience of Being Creative as a Spiritual Practice: A Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Study

By Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon | Go to book overview

Preface

Creative process involves bringing into form an unseen feeling, idea, insight. The way in which the unseen will manifest is not always known ahead of time. It is in the process of forming that this ‘something’ takes shape. In painting it is an interplay between myself and the object I am portraying. As I look at the object, I begin to find the colors I see in the paints I will use. Sometimes I even talk to the colors, calling for them when I need a little more blue in the gray I’m using or a little more white. Gradually, as the process continues, I begin to become the object, begin to feel what the object feels like, being itself. If I am painting the rocks of a cliff overhanging the ocean, I am solid, yet flowing in the shapes and colors of the clay and sand as they form rock. I, in a sense, go through, or echo the original creation of that cliff by the ocean as it takes shape on the white page, through colors on my paintbrush. Each stroke reforms what I see. I feel my whole body is involved, I am the brush, the paint, the stroke, the cliff.

Through this interplay between canvas and object and my self, comes a deep sense of connection. I am connected to my work, connected to my self, connected to the earth, connected to the unseen, which is greater than I am, the Source. At times I feel it is this source, this creative force that forms and maintains all life, that is speaking through me. I feel suddenly alive, tingling with excitement, my body electrified. At other times I feel a deep sense of calm, an at-home-ness, a peace. This is it, all there is, a simple moment and I am content.

It is these feelings of connection and revitalized life that motivate me to paint. The product is just a means, though it can bring me great joy when I look

-ix-

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