The pause that creates

Earlier this morning we were standing in my wife’s studio when she mentioned that she’s not painting today. She said she’s perusing, researching, taking a step back to look at a mostly-done painting that’s vexing her.

This brought to mind Willem de Kooning, the abstract expressionist. He was a powerful pauser. I recall reading how he would frequently spend more time contemplating a canvas than actually working upon it. 

His method was to paint, then pause, sometimes for lengthy periods of time. He would sit and look at the piece. What was it calling from him? What did it need? Where was he going? What wasn’t working? What was?

At a certain point he’d be propelled into work again, painting vigorously with renewed force.

So when Ann said she wasn’t working today, I disagreed. I think she was pausing for renewal. It’s in the contemplative state that the energy of creation gets amassed.

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