Both writing and art use intuition: watching and listening for emerging worlds. But the artist who works as a professional illustrator can sometimes fall out of touch with insight. This happens to writers, too, when they try too hard to adapt to assignments or to their best guess at the market. It’s easy to find your inner compass has been re-set to point somewhere other than North.
And we all need that inner compass.
Hence” tithing”: the portion of an artist’s work that isn’t done under the eye and expectation of an art director, a gallery, a demented market, or even an auntie who needs a birthday card. Tithing is pure play, mutual gifts between the artist and this universe of which we are a tiny, astonished part.
Tithing can be small: a doodle in a sketchbook:
It can be more complex, freeing the hand to explore new territory:
It can play with color and medium:
It can allow the rise of images so mysterious, not even the artist knows where they came from:
It can flow into painting series that form stories, which in turn flow into writing:
A wise artist tithes from birth until death. Even early work can begin to reveal deep images and ideas that will be explored throughout life: for Early Work, click here. Tithing is what keeps an artist or a writer honest.
Tithing brings on countless small reorientations of the heart. It helps the artist true the inner compass and, with it, to find again the River that always flows.
All material on this site, both text and graphics, is ©Betsy James, and may not be used commercially without her permission.