Close-up of the initial sketch for my upcoming painting featuring a dodo bird. The dodo became extinct around roughly 1662, and since there were no cameras then, I’ve been researching the internet to find out as much as I can via eyewitness descriptions and illustrations from that time period (assuming they’d be fairly accurate but maybe they took artistic liberties as I will be doing). I’ve also been comparing a lot of existing birds as well, ranging from parrots to vultures, and everything in-between. I should mention that I was partly inspired to paint the dodo after reading “The Song of the Dodo” by David Quammen. I highly recommend everyone read it.
One of the more popular questions I’ve been answering in interviews as of late (in one form or another) is “why do you create art?” Which I’ve always felt it would be easier to ask me why I breathe… so I would end up giving a response that would in so many words say it is innate. Which is true, of course, but not the in-depth answer they’re looking for. So I’ve been considering this question and have come up with an answer (or at least a good metaphor). When I am looking to create, I think the process is much like that of an archaeologist, or an inventor, or a scientist looking to make the next medical breakthrough. Since I’ve seen enough National Geographic and Jurassic Park to have a better understanding of archaeology, I’m going to use that as my basis. So I’m basically going on a dig- in search of ideas which are hidden well within my mind. When I come up with an idea or a concept, I rush to quickly get it down on paper- it’s like making a new discovery. Though sometimes I don’t always find what I set out to look for- it may be something else, but just as exciting. Once I hit something, I keep digging to reveal more (in my case, rapidly sketching everything before I forget). Once I’ve exhausted that area, I continue my search elsewhere to find any missing pieces or something entirely new, going in any and all directions. One idea leading to another, or maybe a slight variation of an idea, upon another variation and another, so on and so forth- the possibilities are endless.
Once I’ve made this discovery, I want to share it with the world. But it has to be presented properly (presentation is everything- they weren’t kidding)). An archaeologist wouldn’t just reveal a dirty pile of bones- they have to be cleaned, refined, and put back together. So my work has to be “cleaned” and refined as well, put together to make a whole. It takes time, effort, technique, attention to detail, and maybe even trial and error. It has to be pristine and professionally presented for the proper unveiling.
Going back to my original answer, it is innate, and as basic as it is, that may be the best explanation. However, maybe this comparison and the explanation of the creative process (at least for me) serves as a good answer in itself. The excitement of a new discovery- who wouldn’t find that addicting?
Someone recently asked if I ever post photos of my work in progress. Technically yes, but it’s usually just a snippet of a painting. So I dug through some photos for this “photo diary” post of sorts since I actually documented my work on “Untitled.” So here goes:
“Untitled” by Amy Guidry; Acrylic on canvas; 30″w x 24″h
To view this painting as well as more of my work, visit www.AmyGuidry.com. And while you are there, if you’d like to be informed about new work and upcoming events, sign up for my monthly newsletter on my contact page.