creating something from nothing: that is the ongoing work of G-d, and to the degree that you are blessed, your ongoing work as an artist. But creation is also about reduction, about creating nothing from something. How does a sculptor draw out form from the marble slab? He chisels away. He eliminates stone. He creates spaces, emptiness, where solid mass prevailed. In all stages of our project we should be involved in determining both what needs to be added and what needs to be removed from our work to allow the “voice” of the creation to be heard.
creating space is about opening channels to permit the imagination some room to work, and also to permit the “voice” of the project to be heard. Imagine a lavishly decorated living room, every square foot claimed by some piece. How do we go about redecorating that room, if we choose to do that? One approach would be to start removing pieces. Show the floor again. Re-discover the subtle flow of living room to foyer, to dining room, to bedrooms. So with our projects, in the heat of production we may have introduced elements which are covering up the most powerful, fundamental aspects of our work. Remove some elements, if possible. Allow your work a bit of room to breathe, and to “speak” to you from its core.
Creating space is often less about the project and more about us, as the creators. Sometimes we are advised to walk away from our work altogether, to regain perspective, restore personal balance, confront issues which may be distracting. “Walking away” might be as simple as alternation between projects. One benefit to alternating between projects is that we remain more objective about all our projects, and somewhat less invested emotionally, or otherwise, in any given one. Another kind of “walking away” is to extract a portion of the project and work it as a unique project of its own. Perhaps this is the painter’s discipline of preliminary “studies” in reverse. The composer might extract a section from his larger work and set it independently. In this process of working a small bite of the larger piece, we may inform ourselves in a relaxed, focused way about the requirements of the larger work.
As you know, G-d gives us a reality of acting and deciding independently. Nevertheless, G-d directs the steps of man. Through a process of reduction, of eliminating the extraneous, the redundant, we may feel the power of this complex and irrational combination of freewill and G-d’s direction more strongly in our lives, and reap the satisfaction of unexpected productive capacity, originality, and dramatically successful execution in our creative work.