The process of making art is cloaked in mystery. In 1926 Wallas identified four steps in the creative process: "The investigation and information gathering period, the incubation period when the creator does a lot of work at the subconscious level, the illumination period when the solution becomes clear, and the verification period where the solution is evaluated, elaborated and improved."* This struck me as an accurate description of how I work.
Information gathering is happening all the time - when art is such an important part of your life you are always incubating ideas. The development of a sculpture itself, until a solution becomes clear, can take months or even years and some works are never resolved and have to be abandoned. Sometimes the most difficult (and rewarding) part is evaluating your own completed piece. To evaluate the work the artist has to perform a most difficult balancing act. You have to be severely self critical, sensitive and self aware, objective but in the end confident enough to back your own judgment. This is a high risk process, as is a life in art, but all art must contain risk because that is where the excitement is.
Jim Croke, July 2009
*Wallas cited in S. Woolfe, The Mystery of the Cleaning Lady, (University of Western Australia Press, 2007) p.49