What is stillness? Is it a physical place or an inner place? Do we need to go to a place of stillness to paint? Stillness for every artist is likely different. What do other artists say and do regarding stillness?
Canadian artist Agata Lawrynczyk states she paints early in the morning and late in the day to find the peace and quiet she is looking for to depict in her paintings. She also states the subjects for her paintings are stillness. Her paintings are of water and mountains, boats and sky. Her blog, Agata’s Art Corner describes her process. Lawrynczk is actively seeking to paint stillness. Others may follow her habits even when not depicting “stillness.”
Because one is not seeking to depict “stillness” does not mean it is not inwardly sought while painting. Looking at Wilhem De Kooning, I confess to an inability to see anything remotely resembling “stillness” in the artists work. Once while standing in a room filled with De Kooning paintings at the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C., I could swear I felt sizzling electricity. In a brief biographical sketch about De Kooning, The Guggenheim Museum states the artist moved to East Hampton, New York seeking greater peace and isolation to create. It appears De Kooning sought a place of stillness even though you would never guess from his work!
In a blog called With Real Toads, Margaret Bednar, visits two art museums to view paintings she sees as depicting, “Stillness” in the subject matter. Using these chosen artworks, she asks the writers of the blog to describe stillness in words or poems. The same directive for painting could also apply. Thinking about descriptive words for stillness may be a good method for getting to a place of “stillness” in the art making process, regardless of subject.
Ellen Lauren is speaking to theatre actors when she wrote an article for SITI.org titled, “In Search of Stillness.” She believes actors require training to achieve stillness. It is likely the same applies whether the subject to be captured is of “stillness” or the artist is seeking the inner place of inspiration. When stillness is achieved, creativity flows. Or so it would seem.