This book is for artists and writers, and anyone else who is engaged in the difficult but personally revealing path of expressing themselves. It is for those that are actually doing it, one way or another.
My hope is that it will provide insights or tools or ideas to make the journey deeper, perhaps more conscious, and maybe even easier.
A friend reading the manuscript suggested the principles should be more active: Search for Beauty, rather than Searching for Beauty, for example. And that there could be an action step at the end of each principle.
That as it happens is exactly what I don't want this book to be. In raising questions and possibilities, a quick call to arms is probably going to be both superficial and counter-productive.
I'm not sure that this book is for the people that want to create, but don't. It seems to me in the end, as far as expressing yourself is concerned, you just have to plunge in, fears and all. There is something courageous about it. If a person is too timid even to start, I'm not sure what it would take to get that person started. I'm not a big believer in the books and courses that advocate going into creativity rituals and altar-making and mask-making in order to get unstuck and get started. Maybe that stuff works. I don't know. It just seems like more strategies to avoid getting on with it. This then is a book for people who are in the thick of it.
Desire is the messenger that you have something to say. I have tried to address this throughout in terms of your coming to terms with your own very personal take on that desire-its authenticity. Each principle rests on several basic assumptions I have about the need for authenticity:
I'm a painter. A representational one. This makes me until recently a dinosaur in the contemporary art world. Yet practicing any discipline over a long period of time gives one insights. Some things emerge clearly, others become at least a little more clear. Some things I had assumed or had been told were true or relevant, I discovered with experience were not. What follows are principles that are essential to authentic expression, at least for me. They are not necessarily completely distinct. I've separated them for the telling but obviously there are overlaps and some points could appear under several principles. Some are particularly relevant to representational painting. But many of the following principles I feel are common to all creative activity.