Improvisation and experimentation involves a certain level of trust in process. A successful outcome is never guaranteed. Experimentation starts in the mind. The brain needs to be able to move away from what is known and familiar and travel in different directions. I think it is very hard to be truly experimental. It never feels very comfortable, deviating from the known.
Doing something known or predictable inevitably becomes tedious and uninspiring. Like rote learning, the information doesn’t stick because the process fails to capture the imagination. We love surprises but we fear the unknown. The brain likes its neural pathways to be well trod but the heart longs for fresh turf.
We feel in control when we have certainty but our certainty is based on the assumed predictability of previous experience. This is flawed thinking. Nothing ever stays the same so why should our previous experiences be repeated?
In the studio I never know what I am doing. I do not work from sketches or plan out my compositions. Why I ended up working this way, I do not know. It baffles me and dements me on a daily basis. Sometimes I wish that I could be satisfied with just depicting something rather than trying to make something out of nothing. But if my previous experience gives me anything, it tells me that eventually something WILL happen. Something will be revealed through all the searching and shuffling. Something will eventually feel right or make visual sense. Forgetting this can lead to despair. So I am writing this to remind myself because at the moment I am utterly lost in the chaos I have created.
The point where something is happening but you don’t know what it is, is a high point in the whole venture. It is the point where you can sense that a revelation is close at hand. There is a delicious moment of anticipation. The difficult and torturous stage is by now worked through and hopefully over. It is a blessed moment that makes the difficulties of the struggle completely worthwhile. Of course it is not possible to linger and savor the moment for very long. It is as fleeting as any intangible thing. But even if it is short lived, it is for this that I keep creating, searching and fumbling.