The Seed

The Arc of Creativity

September 29, 2012

It always amazes even myself as an artist, the many stages of evolution a piece must go through for it to arrive at my desired state. When I start a new canvas painting I almost always begin with the title  of the work already in mind even before I know what I want to paint. This may be the reverse to the norm because most painters title their work after they have painted it. For me the “title” of my piece in advance drives my emotional and creative direction for what I want the painting to manifest in to. Therefore to me words matter. It becomes the seed to initiate how my painting unfolds on the canvas.

Another thing people may not know about my process is I generally do not spend a great deal of time planning my painting in advance. By that I mean I don not invest a lot of time in creating numerous sketches and colour studies that serve as a blueprint for what I need to accomplish on canvas.

I have a general idea in my head of what I want to do and I just take to the canvas and allow the “arc of creativity” to happen. I always remember the words of my second year fine art painting teacher who always instructed us before we began to paint  to take our brush and write “No Fear” in the top corner of the canvas. This action before every painting we started was meant to symbolize our commitment to not worry about the mistakes that would occur along the way, but to attack the canvas with confidence that we would ultimately arrive at our desired destination – We just needed to trust our instincts to guide us there. We need not strive for instant perfection but to be aware of the journey itself and that sometimes mistakes along the way become opportunities for wonderful things to happen and may even compel a change in a completely new direction.

When I paint I love to live in that margin of partial plan and unexpected miracles. In this way I live all my mistakes and triumphs directly on the playing field of the canvas. This approach makes me feel connected to something within that  constantly challenges me to trust my instincts as an artist.  It is both a humbling and and liberating experience for me and anyone who purchases my work can trust that I left my heart and soul on that canvas by the time my “Arc of Creativity” has come to it’s end for that piece.


Jason O’Brien


Here is the “The Arc of Creativity” for my painting titled “The Seed”


  • 36″ x 48″ – Acrylic on Canvas