I’m a huge fan of the artist Borbay. (I should say this right off the bat: I don’t know anything about art except that there are pieces I like and pieces I don’t. I don’t know why I like them or don’t; some works just catch my eye. Borbay’s did.) The first introduction to his work was this piece, “Long Beach Bungalows“. Something about the colors, the subject matter.. I don’t know what it was, but I love this painting. And then I read the post below it, a step by step process of his work on location. And I’m hooked. I can’t paint, but I want to know how painters do it. I want to know where he started, how he got past the intimidating white page of the canvas. Where does a painting start? How do you choose where the first stroke goes? It seems more of a building process than I would have guessed.
I’m sitting here watching — I’ve got this post open in one monitor and there he is painting in my other monitor — I’m sitting here watching with my jaw dropped. Not because watching him paint is so intriguing (the actual brush strokes are cool, but it’s not all that active), but because he’s letting us into the process itself, a process I find in my work to be very singular. It’s one thing to talk about how you created something after the fact, when you have a clear head and a finished product. It’s another thing entirely to show a work in progress, as you’re literally progressing, before you can show where it’s going to end up, before you can prevent people from making judgments based on an unfinished product. Maybe I’m alone in this thinking, maybe creating is a singular process to me and me only, and there are others out there creating beautiful things who don’t see it that way; that’s cool. In fact, I’m envious.
I just think it takes a ton of courage to put it out there like that. To let everyone see the product before it’s polished. I don’t know how painters do what they do, so I can only think about it the way I do writing, but there’s no way I could expose myself like that. There are times the first draft doesn’t look anything like the second draft, and you’d think less of me if you had seen it. There are times when I don’t get the words right, but instead get them quite wrong. You’d think less of me if you had seen them. There are times when I incorporate bad ideas into my writing, when I go in the wrong direction and need to pull myself out of it in a later stage. You’d think… well, you get the idea.
And that’s what’s so refreshing and enlightening about watching Borbay work: creating something is a messy process, one where you’re exposed, and he’s not afraid of it.