Episode 33 : The Reluctant Creator

A painter standing before a blank piece of paper

Sometimes we may hesitate to start a new painting because we don't want to be limited by the forms that appear. In this excerpt from his course, An Introduction to Facilitating Process Arts, Stewart talks about our fundamental reluctance to make a mark on the page -- and how we can take the leap, daring to embrace and engage the forms of creation.

An excerpt from The Reluctant Creator . . .

There's a great quote that I love - the first words of God according to Alan Watts: "You've got to draw the line somewhere". A moment ago there was nothing and now there's something. A moment ago there was infinite potential and now there's limitation because there's form. The very existence of form carries a quality of limitation about it, because it's black not red, it's a vertical line rather than a field. The very fact that it has taken a definite form brings us down into something which is less than infinite, you might say. This is what I'm tying to the word "reluctant," because we have in us as human beings the intuition of our infinite nature. We have within us, unconsciously or possibly more consciously, a taste of non-identification with form -- of ourselves without the limitation of form, without the limitation of identity. I think that's very real, it's not just a philosophical assumption, I see it in the experience that people are having in the creative process. To actually take the leap and to come down, so to speak, into form, to actually let something be born, to let something be manifest, is almost a degradation to that part of the soul that realizes its infinite nature. It's certainly a disappointment, certainly a sense of being confined in some way.

If this is true, if we entertain it at least, it does change our relationship to the experience of painting, and it changes our relationship to the space that we hold when we're facilitating other people. It brings a different background of understanding into this moment, which is really such an incredibly precious moment, that first leap. That leap has to occur again and again in the painting; it's not just the first stroke but the very coming into form and then on some level becoming that form. There's a necessary limitation involved and what I'm suggesting is that our reluctance to create has to do with this more existential reality rather than some personal failure.

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