Making It Still

Issue #6
by guest contributor Stephanie J. Frostad

One of the thrills of being an artist for me is making something out of nothing, turning a blank, white rectangle into a palpable space. Every composition is a chance to make a new world of beauty and meaning. While there are inevitable struggles, sometimes even tedium in the process, this generation is ultimately empowering.

Another, quieter, thrill of being an artist for me is holding still. Instead of acting upon the world -- real or imagined -- allowing myself to be acted upon by it. Intent observation and reflection are as crucial to the artworkʼs development as motion with graphite, brush and paint. There is a certain vulnerability and humility in looking unguardedly, with no purpose but to perceive the visual truths and potentials of the subject, whether it be a weed, a human figure, a color or shape. This receptive aspect of image-making is exhilarating too. I am enriched by what I see.

We celebrate the most conspicuous aspects of artistic process: the mark, the expressive gesture, the signature style or touch of the artist. And rightly so, since these are concrete elements of craft. Between the lines, so to speak, is evidence of the choice to be formed and informed by what is seen and experienced. Though harder to discern in the creation, this receptive and reflective aspect of image-making is just as crucial to the power of art. Visions must be held, still and carefully, in order to be manifest and shared.

See Stephanie's amazing paintings and drawings at her website, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.