A Creative Process

Daily activities may find me tackling projects most people I know would never attempt.
Example, body work on a car. Yes.

Years ago, we had a very rusty car. It was a 1974 Plymouth, Valiant. After eight years of ownership, small rusty segments fell to the ground below the fender almost daily. Why get another car, this one was paid for, no more car loan.

During my teens, my neighbor, Richard, and other high school boys had done body work. One of the boys, Fiddy, designed a unique look to his headlights that he proudly paraded as he cruised around town. He had created a hood at the top of each headlight, which was pulled out and downward in a V shape, just about an inch or two in front of the light. It was pretty cool and very creative.

If Fiddy or Richard could do body work as teens, I could do the same in my thirties. Besides, I studied art at USM. One class project was a bondo covered sculpture. Bondo is pretty tough to work with. If I could handle it for a small sculpture, why not a bigger sculpture? Our Plymouth.

All I had to do was scrape, cut away, remove and neutralize the rust with acid. Then pop-rivet sheet metal, add metal screen which could be shaped as needed, apply bondo and sand it into shape. With mask to protect my lungs and rubber gloves to protect my hands I was grinding away when a neighbor walked by. I looked a fright as I sat on the pavement with my gear, I’m sure. “What are you doing now? Is there anything you don’t do?” she asked. Not really. If something needs to be done, I just—do it. I had impressed this neighbor when I had built decorative walls to hide the space below the porch and the deck. It looked great and added to the charm of the house. Another big sculpture.

I think in terms of art. Projects are sculptures, writing is painting with words, and art is painting with a pigmented medium.
belties gated
While I work on all these distractions, I ponder my next art work. What will I paint next. I mix colors and add colored glazes to get certain effects. Always works well in my mind. Working at the easel is different. Depends on lighting, colors available and—patience. Something else may happen and is better than I imagined. There are times where I just want to throw the painting away. But I keep it for a while. Every time I come across it, I shudder. There have been paintings that I kept for years, which I finally ripped to pieces or burned. No regrets. Here is one of my latest pieces. Sold. smile…

Writing is the same. I spent twelve years writing a story that was bouncing around in my brain for two years prior. So I wrote whenever I had time. The project haunted me. I had to complete it. I finally did—twelve years later in my retirement. I’ve been re-writing this story for the last three years. A slow process. I read novels of the same genre as I study the writing process. Therefore, I have re-written, ripped out segments, added new ideas and have re-shaped the story a bit. I like it better—another ‘sculpture’ I intend to finish.

Meanwhile, I’ve written a few fun stories just to get experience writing about another topic. Research is fun as I write. I have to either remember what life was like in the ‘50s or whatever period I choose. I’ve lived it, so I write about it.

On to my next painting or chapter… .

Smile in your mirror every day. Create something that makes you happy.

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