The Evolution of Diana's Room and The Art of Marriage
by William E Young
The creative process is often a evolution of ideas. Diana's Room is an example of that process. In the original idea, the painting was an interior scene with daylight outside the window coming into the room, but the spilled coffee on the table reflected a night sky. This idea was fully developed in my mind. I could see the final image well enough but the more I painted the image the harder it became to bring it all together as a finish piece. I spent several weeks forcing the painting to completion but to no avail. It dawned on me-perhaps there was something else that wanted to be said. There was more here that wanted to meet the eye.
Back to the sketch pad. Characters began to appear in the room. Two crows sitting on shelves flanked the window. Tea was pouring into a cup sitting on the table from a tea pot suspended by a string between the two crows. Sitting in the window sill looking into the room was a cat holding the scene with detached regard. Piper, my old dog, was regarding the night sky reflected in the coffee on the floor.
This seemed to me to be a perfectly good enigmatic scene. There was a meaning in this menagerie somewhere, but it was hidden just enough that finding it would be a challenge. Then the subjects came into conflict. Too much going on here. What was a grand union fell apart in disarray. Everyone wanted to be the center of attention. They each went their separate ways.
The crows stayed in the room and became The Art of Marriage. Piper went outside the house and took a nap under the window in Diana's Room. The table has yet to make a appearance but it will show up later bearing plates and glasses and foods of different sorts.
All these ideas showed up at once and demanded a space of their own. The key here is not to fight your instincts and premonitions when working in the creative process, but rather ride them out and open up to what your imagination is presenting you. When you are stuck in a room, don't run in circles on the carpet-go outside and see what you can find. If it's too hot outside, go inside and feel the cool air whisper in your ear the secrets of your mind.
A painting that started out as an interior scene looking outward ended up as an outside scene looking inward.