Feeling stuck is an important part of my creative process …

I am often asked from where I get the ideas for my novels, poetry and visual art. Well, sometimes these works just manifest themselves — in no time at all; and at other times I can re-work a poem, a passage in a novel or a painting over and over again. I have been known to change one word in a poem back and forth over the space of several years — both being acceptable, but because I change with time, so must “the word”.

Likewise, I have been advised by authors and literary critics — more famous than I am — not to write about my creative ideas and processes, as that tends to put the readers and audience “on a guided leash”. Well … usually I let the audiences figure out what they need to experience in my works of art and literature, but every now and then I am mostly concerned with sharing my own process — the process of creativity, as an art form unto itself. So here goes it …

I paint with oils — usually “wet on wet”, which allows me to move more quickly on cognitive multi-levels than otherwise; and I often have several paintings going at the same time. But as with my writing (especially in regards to my predilection for writing in several different languages) I am always looking for new challenges, and new problems to solve creatively. Not everything I create deserves an art exhibition or publication — some pieces are “working pieces”, meant for my own learning. Others are “artist/author pieces” — which are usually meant to appeal mostly to other artists and authors (to begin with) … but which eventually gain in popularity amongst non-artists and non-authors with time. Artists and authors are often “before their time” … or rather, before the time of their seemingly “static environments”.

However, there are times where I do “get stuck”; i.e. find myself in temporary situations where I have painted or written myself into a corner, and must drastically “fuck things up” in order to regain the loose-abstract sentiment underneath which drives me artistically.

With poetry, when I feel stuck, I rip the poem apart and pick out the lines that work well, then section them off into individual new poems or new stanzas while re-developing the language and scenarios around those lines. The result is often either a new poem with more powerful focus and execution, several new poems or an epic poem with heat and rhythm not so evident before. With painting, it often involves painting over sections that work all too well but disrupt the overall possibilities by their concreteness, or “graffiti-ing them” in order to open up my mind and painterly instincts to something new or different than what I had previously fallen captive to.

Tonight — suddenly — I find myself in that situation; and I have thought to document and share it with my readers. Here are two paintings I am currently working on. Both are challenging for me technically, and both are going in other directions (less abstract) than originally intended. I am at an impasse. It does not help that the portrait is a self-portrait, and thus reflects both how I see myself, how others see me, and my own vanity (how I wish to be seen/perceived). Circles, bubbles, the colour green, anatomical perspective, simplistic background balance etc. — jeez! The battle is on …

I started these two paintings with loose sketches:


… and have proceeded to the painting stages, starting with the first background layers (which have changed along with the rest of the painting already thus far):


The self-portrait was originally intended to be a psychedelic multi-coloured one, but already while working with the shadow and light foundations I began to understand that the painting (and my painting guides) had decided upon another style and technique. The same has happened with the black background in the other painting: it is begging for graffiti-swirls or energy motives … a technique I have used before, but a discussion will have to take place … with me, myself, I … and those others that argue with me artistically (but who never get their names signed on a work of literature or art).

LOL! I did have a period where I refused to sign my paintings because I did not paint them “alone”. But — my customers complained and demanded my signature. I acquiesced but still often sign on the back of the canvas frame in order to maintain the integrity of the image on the front of the canvas (which sometimes does not work well with a disruptive signature).

Freddie Mercury certainly knew much about creative processes, and how they intersect with real life. He — like I — lived with AIDS. This song says it all about love in all its forms, including love of the artistic process:


Adam Donaldson Powell.


author, painter, photographer.

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While it is best to learn about me by reading and seeing my books, essays, poetry and visual art, I do have a curriculum vitae. Here it is, for those that may be interested in such:

ADAM DONALDSON POWELL (Norway) has published various literary works: poems, stories, novellas/short novels, literary criticism, essays, art photography criticism; and also works with painting and photography. He was born in the USA, and resides in Norway. He has been a professional visual artist (since 1995) and a writer (since 1987). He has published 11 printed books, in USA, Norway and India and 2 Amazon e-books, as well as several short works in literary publications. Among his many literary and artistic themes are multilingualism, the transcultural, spiritual development, societal development, LGBT issues, HIV/AIDS etc. He has written, performed and published works in English, Spanish, French and Norwegian. His poetry and essays have been translated into several languages, including: Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese and Bengali.

GAYTUDE (co-written with Albert Russo, and published in 2009 (Xlibris Corporation) was the 2009 National Indie Excellence Award Winner (in the category gay/lesbian nonfiction); Adam was the winner of the AZsacra International Poetry Award in 2008, and the recipient of a Norwegian Foreign Ministry’s travel stipend for authors in 2005.


(photo courtesy of Blikk Magazine)

Book publications:

Jisei: death poems and daily reflections by a person with AIDS, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-403-2, © 2013, India.

The tunnel at the end of time (co-written with Rick Davis and Azsacra Zarathustra), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-160-4, © 2010, India.

Malerier og fotokunst, a short 38-page retrospective overview of some of Adam Donaldson Powell’s best known oil paintings and photographic art works. Published by Cyberwit.net as a special limited and numbered full-color, soft cover edition (55 copies only), ISBN 978- 81-8253-154-3, India, © 2009.

Gaytude: a poetic journey around the world, gay poetry in English and French by Albert Russo and Adam Donaldson Powell, 335 pages, published by Xlibris Corporation, © 2009, Library of Congress Control
Number: 2008907964, ISBN: Hardcover 978-1-4363-6396-9, ISBN: Softcover 978-1-4363-6395-2, USA.
2014: the life and adventures of an incarnated angel, 135 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253-118-5, © 2008, India.

Critical Essays, literary and photobook criticism by Adam Donaldson Powell and Dr. Santosh Kumar, 108 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978- 81-8253-110-9, © 2008, India.

Le Paradis (Paradise), 80 pages, Cyberwit.net, ISBN 978-81-8253- 103-1, © 2008, India. Includes a booklet with symbols from The Universal Language of Light, as seen by Laila Holand.

Rapture: endings of space and time (86 pages), Cyberwit,net, ISBN 978-81-8253-083-6, © 2007, India.

Three-legged Waltz, (80 pages), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 818253058X, © 2006, India.

Collected Poems and Stories, (175 pages), Cyberwit.net, ISBN 8182530288, © 2005, India.

Arcana and other archetypes, (special limited edition – hardback collection of poetry), AIM Chapbooks ANS, © 2001, Norway (now out-of-print).

Notes of a Madman, (hardback collection of poetry), Winston-Derek Publishers, Inc., © 1987, ISBN 1-55523-054-7, USA (now out-of-print).

See Adam’s website: adamangel.wordpress.com for updated information on his literary and artistic activities.

Order his books from: http://www.cyberwit.net, http:// http://www.tajmahalreview.com, http://www.amazon.com and “Gaytude” can also be ordered from http://www.xlibris.com.

“There is no doubt that Powell, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Randall Jarrell, and Delmore Schwartz are the most talented American poets of the modern age.”
— Dr. Santosh Kumar, Allahabad University, 2010.

ABOVE QUOTE FROM A GREAT BOOK BY DR. SANTOSH KUMAR, INDIA: “Adam Donaldson Powell: The Making of a Poet”, a critical analysis of the published works of Adam Donaldson Powell. Order the book from Cyberwit.net.



My own activist career began when I was a teenager, and – in spite of both my parents being careerists in the United States Air Force – I became an anti-war activist (Vietnam War) and conscientious objector. That activism had many expressions: from silent Quaker vigils to anti-war marches and rallies to getting thrown out of the courtroom of Judge Julius Hoffman (famous from the «Chicago Seven» trials) for civil disobedience while supporting a draft dodger. My activism has including working as an employee of organizations such as the American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker social service and peace education organization), the Partnership for the Homeless, Amnesty International Norway etc., working for the Norwegian government in support of the unemployed, immigrants, the disabled etc., establishing my own activist organizations in Norway in support of immigrants, artists, authors, dancers, actors, and filmmakers, and also representing organizations that lobby for the rights of persons with HIV/AIDS. Being an activist has required me to constantly weigh whether my own convictions and interests are best served by working for or representing an existing organization, political parties, agency or institution OR working alone so that I may set my own specific agenda and choose my own methods of working. The latter has given me special satisfaction. In that regard I have used my talents as a speechwriter and public speaker, as a book author, as a musician, as a linguist, and as a visual artist to promote my ideas and my support for those who do not themselves have the possibility of getting their voices heard publicly. In 1994 I arranged Norway’s first World AIDS Day art exhibition (a tradition which I kept going until 2009), I have promoted the rights of immigrants and of performing, literary and visual artists, and debated with top politicians in Norway on television, radio and in the tabloids, I have represented persons with HIV/AIDS on behalf of the Norwegian government and otherwise at UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session – Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS) as well as at international conferences in Norway and in other countries; I have initiated one-man protest demonstrations against individuals and government agencies that I felt abused the dignity or rights of the disabled and persons with HIV/AIDS, etc.; and I have been critical of other individual activists, government institutions, politicians, and also of activist organizations in the media. At times I have also worked within the «system», and as an advisor and cooperative partner to the system, and publicly defended specific government policies, and I have held office in a major political party. All this after personal analysis of the best ways to bring my activist ideas into government and organizational policy frameworks.

All my formal education and life experience comes into play in my activism: including my master degree in international and developmental public administration, my years of working for the government in Norway and as a university administrator and corporate writer/editor in the United States, and even my college bachelor of arts thesis (on the legal rights of minors {young persons} to consent to acquisition of contraceptives and to psychological counseling) which resulted in my own draft legislation eventually becoming state law in Vermont, and then later in Ohio.

I have also served on the board of directors of several organizations in Norway and in the USA which work in the areas of LGBT rights, the rights and needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS, the arts, and religious expression. And finally, I have organized international conferences for persons working in support of persons living with HIV/AIDS, as well as international and bilingual authors. I have held many speeches and been a high-profile spokesperson at conferences and in the media, and my visual art exhibitions and my authored books often address themes related to my areas of activism.

My most current expression of activism involves supporting and encouraging the voices of contemporary activists, and in my own writing and visual art.

~ Adam Donaldson Powell