Consumed with Process and a Lion’s Heart

Sandia Morning Mist   8x10  oil on canvas board

There comes a time when an artist struggles and struggles, and nothing seems to go quite right, you hit that moment of truth.  At least in your head.  Maybe I’m a fake, maybe I don’t have the passion to do this anymore, maybe it’s time to get a real job, maybe I just want to paint my car instead.

And then a small miracle happens.  You decide out of some will of your subconscious that you pick up a paintbrush, dip into those paints, and hit the canvas board with such momentum that you start to become consumed by the process.  That’s right, consumed with the process.

The process might be one of  the most overlooked things about the painting experience.  Most people want to get to the end of  the painting, after all are we consumed by the results, the final stage, the end of the journey.  Because we know that either there’s a pot at the end of  the rainbow or an abyss in the ocean.

To this, I say we can’t forget the process. We can’t forget the painting experience, my friends.  Without smelling the roses and enjoying the journey, how can the final result be any good?  On the surface it might look good, but will it have soul?  I know I want my art to have soul.

I believe that the process can even go beyond human instinct to animal instinct.  Lions want dinner, especially that gazelle.   That’s the result.  How do you get it?  Do you ever see on National Geographic or some nature show of how the lions run in different paths and speeds chasing their meal?  It’s not by accident, they planned the attack.  When you plan something, you are living the process.  Action = Process.

So now that we’ve covered art and the animal kingdom in one tasty post here, what do the two have in common?  The process.  The process takes creativity to achieve the final result.  Without process, there is no result.  But however, humans can take one thing to the next level, which separates us from the animal kingdom.  Can you guess?  Humans have the ability to enjoy and savor the process with such a range of emotions.  And because we have the ability to enjoy the process, our lives can become more rich and meaningful.  Our souls could be fulfilled.

And we can learn this one little tidbit from the animal kingdom.  Animals live in the moment, because that’s all they have. What would life be like if the moment’s all we have?  Even Eckart Tolle, an amazing author and speaker who wrote, “The Power of Now” (Which I highly recommend) emphasizes the importance of the present moment.  Now is all we have.  The future is an illusion, the past is gone.

As a painter, I’m always experiencing the Now in my life and the creative process of painting.  Time becomes irrelevant and before you know it, 2 or 3 hours have passed.  Seems like the soul enjoys the Now moment too, maybe that’s why it feels so good.

Speaking of Now, (now it’s becoming my favorite word) I would like to share my latest painting “Sandia Morning Mist” above my post.  Like a lion, I chased the light and colors until I got a clear mental picture of what to include and what to leave out on the canvas.  I wanted to capture just a few rays of yellow light, the mist over the mountains, and the majestic mountains itself.  I rarely paint around 7am, but I could get used to it.  I enjoy the results, but not as much as the process.  I could always go back and fix it up, but I don’t want to overdo it either.

So in the end, maybe the destination will be awesome, but it’s the journey, that process that will make it very tasty.  Ask any lion.

I have a new video out that I’m very proud of, a short documentary about my life, times, feelings about art and “the process” on my homepage, or click here