Hurrying and Multitasking​ Are Enemies of Writing and Painting


Red Rose – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

Life in the 21st-Century has become a hurried and frantic affair. The USA has become a paper-plate-society, and this is the era of the multitasker. Yet, multitasking and hurrying can  have devastating effects upon people who would like to write or to paint.

When I multitask, I am distracted, and I can neither write nor paint anything that is in any way meaningful. When I paint, I turn off my cell phone, my television, and my computer. When I write, I do the same, but I limit my use of the computer to that of a word processor. Very simply, before I begin to create in any way at all, I remove any of the escape routes that might present themselves to me as forms of technology, and I strive to meet my subject matter face-to-face. Then, I begin to unwrap it, layer by layer.

Creating for me is a process of digging deeply into the marrow of my subject, and it is my moving beyond the superficial in my response.  If I can do that effectively, my intuition begins to speak and to move me, and I strive to allow my intuition to complete the rest of the heavy lifting.


Michelangelo alluded to this artist’s intuition in saying that his sculptures [his art] lay within the stone and that he merely followed the path that he sensed within the rock and set the image free. I believe that Michelangelo was talking about the process of allowing his intuition to speak to him and to coach him as he created.

“I don’t know! I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know why I enjoyed it, and I don’t know why I’ll do it again!” –    Bart Simpson

Often, we don’t know why we do what we do in making art.  In creating art, something that leads the eyes and urges the hand to move speaks to the artist. The same is true in writing. Each person has a unique song that is coaching him, and as the artist or writer listens to his own coach–his own set of directives–he begins a journey along a set of stepping stones that become a work of art. Collectively speaking, the products that evolve from this process ultimately become an  artist’s style. In writing, this becomes the writer’s voice. Again, however, I am firmly convinced that it is impossible to access the intuition when we hurry and multitask. arnicalupinejune2220128x10facebook-image12

Wild Arnica and Lupines – Jacki Kellum Watercolor Painting

The confusing thing about my art, however, is that I actually paint very quickly, and I write very quickly, too. Although I begin the process slowly, deliberately, and cautiously, I complete the process in a creative burst. In painting, the use of energetic brush strokes is labeled as painting with bravura.

The movie The Agony and the Ecstasy was made about Michelangelo, and in my opinion, the Agony and the Ecstasy of creating have to do with our creating via our intuitions. I have written several posts about the intuition. It fascinates me.

“In creating art, something speaks to the artist and that something should be allowed to lead the way. By listening to that something–that inner voice–one is able to distil his own vision–or style.” – Jacki Kellum

“Knowing why one does this or that while creating is not important. Making art is an intuitive response.  An essential key in learning to paint is learning to hear the voice of your inner artist and allowing that voice to lead the way.”  – Jacki Kellum

In my opinion, the process of entering into our intuitions is like meditating. As we calm down and begin to hear our intuitions speak, we enter a meditative-like zone.  It is within this zone that the Ecstasy of being creative prevails. Riding one’s intuition is like sky-diving. Your inner airplane takes you to one of the highest places within yourself and then, you jump.

Flipping and floating, you begin to cascade downward, but ultimately, you hit the ground. BAM! The intuition ride is over. The high is gone, and the idea is no longer fresh and exciting; yet, the work is often incomplete. In writing, you have reached the time for editing and re-writing. For artists, this is the time for reworking over and over again. The editing stage of creating is where the Agony part of producing art sets in.

I am blessed with an inordinate amount of creativity, and much of what people see of me is produced while jumping from one of my flights of fantasy. On the flip side, I am terrible at seeing things through. When the magic of a project is gone, I am gone, too. I am off, seeking another place to soar. I begin seeking another fresh idea to explore; I begin looking for another creative high.

The bad but essential news is that in order to succeed in art, or anything else, we must force ourselves to finish the project. In farm country, the expression is “Plow to the End of the Row.” In other words, finish what you start.

Turtle Criss-Crossed, Africa, Senegal, Tortie, Carapace

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

©Jacki Kellum July 22, 2016



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