Tag Archives: Art Process

Doing Something Religiously…?

This is one of my favorite times of the year.  Even though it’s the dead of winter here in the northern hemisphere, the Feast for the Soul is a springboard for renewal, spiritual renewal.  It’s a good time to spend time in silence, following my breath, my heartbeat, and my motivation for inspiration.

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Preparation for the journey

Unlike many, I don’t meditate sitting on a cushion, chanting, or burning incense (although I do often burn a candle).  I use my meditation time to work on one piece of art, forty minutes a day for forty days.  I delve into the consciousness of my soul and how it shows itself in my art.  I give myself the space to allow the art to tell a story, a theme that is the focus for the length of the meditation.

I find it interesting that when someone asks if we do something regularly, we’re often asked if we do something religiously?  I’m not sure how this came about, but I don’t believe it had anything to do with organized religion.  I believe it relates to the idea of creating a practice.  Engaging in something with regularity and intention.  Intention is the key because it drives my focus, and in turn allows the release of negative energy.  It gives me the opportunity to allow the energy to guide my actions and provides me with a forum for something that is utmost importance to me, and in many cases, society.

We live in an unsettling world.  The amount of uncertainty is enormous and that provides a state of anxiety for many of us.  We’re hyper-vigilant impacting our sense of calm, perspective, and focus.  The media has heightened our need to be informed.  Our safety is threatened by politics, the environment, and the recent repeal of human decency.

The focus of my forty days of meditation is “protection”.  The desire, need, and right to feel safe in our country, our homes, and our hearts.  The work I’m creating will provide me with a sense of safety because I have the freedom to create.  It will provide me with a sense of calm because I’m choosing to be mindful (anyone who doesn’t think textile art doesn’t require mindfulness has never been cut with a rotary cutter or burned with an iron).  It provides me with a sense of community and purpose because I’m hoping the work will share the common story we’re currently living.

Join me on this journey (www.feastforthesoul.org).  It can have transformative capabilities and will reinforce the feeling of being in community.

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Echo Chamber

How many times do you need to be told or hear the same thing before it registers?  Are you attuned to the clues that step-in front of you on a daily basis?  When I was in college I toyed with the idea of being an English teacher.  I registered for the class Foundations of Education with Mr. Sacca.  One of the things he shared were his secrets for being a student and trying to figure out what would be on the exam.  Mr. Sacca shared that if something in the lecture was repeated it would most likely be on the exam.  His mantra in the class was “repetition for emphasis.”

I’ve been out of college for over thirty years and this mantra sticks with me.  Every day I try and pay attention to what enters my consciousness.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect.  It may take numerous encounters with an idea, a person, or an experience before its purpose registers.

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Spending time in the “echo chamber” is living in the cross-hairs of important components of our lives.  As creative beings, our ability to convert the same idea, color, tone, meter can be developed to look, sound, and feel different every time.  It’s this variety that helps us punctuate our message.  Repeating a theme increases the volume of our creative voice.

If you think you don’t have anything to add to the conversation in the Universe you’re wrong.  What I’ve learned over the years as an artist is that we can all want to share similar messages, but it’s our unique energy and point-of-view that makes it accessible to a specific audience.  We all have an audience waiting to hear what we have to say, so say it!

Don’t’ be surprised if you have to share your message over and over before it’s received.  We can’t expect others to get it and assimilate it any faster than we did.  Don’t give up because persistence shows the power of your message.  When you take a stand, you’ll be surprised how like the Pied Piper, others will stop, listen, and eventually follow.

Now more than ever we need your creative voice.  Your creative energy will be a catalyst for change in the world!

One Note

It’s easy to get into a rut.  We’re creatures of habit and leading us to a life of uncomfortable predictability.  I love to cook and I watch a lot of cooking competitions like Chopped and Top Chef.  It’s not uncommon for the judges to describe the contestants dish as being “one note”.   The judges are referring to the lack of complexity in the dish.  It’s flat and doesn’t give the diner anything diverse in their experience.

When creating what does that mean to you?  I had taken a quilter’s color class over a decade ago, and the first piece we created was monochromatic, a work all in one color.  One color doesn’t mean boring.  It pushes us as creators to think beyond one color, one note, one set of words or meter.  How are we able expand our resources?  This applies not only to art, but to business, finances, even politics.

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I guess what I’m wondering is “Have we been trained to settle?”  Are we inclined to stay safe because we’ve been conditioned to avoid “less than perfect?”  As I explore creativity and its impact on our well-being, I want us to explore what would happen if we changed or modified one thing.  I don’t want to through the baby out with the bath water, but I’m wondering what we can add to the bath to make it more enjoyable and more expressive of your identity.

One note in creativity is similar to believing there’s only one treatment for illness, one diet to lose weight, one way to save money.  When we go beyond one note we explore options.  We’re encouraged and rewarded for our efforts.  We learn things about ourselves boosting our self-esteem.

We’re complex beings and living lives that are “one note” compromises our uniqueness and our magnificence.  Go beyond the one note…use a new color, change the words you use most often expanding your vocabulary and enriching your work, use a new spice when cooking a favorite recipe giving a new twist in your diet and enjoyment of your food.  We’re creative beings.  If we weren’t we would have gone the way of the dinosaurs…let’s use that gift!

Does It Have to be a Masterpiece?

As artists are we caught up in the need for every work of art, every song, every poem to be the pinnacle of our success? You know the answer to the age-old question, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Practice! Practice! Practice! Believe it or not everything we create will win a Grammy, a Nobel Prize, or the center of a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

What if your process was the art, would that change how you work or the outcome of your work? I think a lot about process because I want to be immersed in creating, that’s where I find joy and peace. The outcome doesn’t have to be beautiful or noteworthy, but it does have to be honest. It does have to feel representative of my message, my experience, my opinions, or my beliefs.

Art is a healing force and if we get caught up in the trap that everything has to be a masterpiece do some feel like they can’t join the club? Have we imposed a secret password to get into the “art” club? What if we were to employ the benefits of art as we do taking a multi-vitamin daily, would that invite more people to use their creative thoughts and urges?

Incorporating art or creative expression as a practice enhances our lives. When utilizing art as a part of a health and healing regimen it’s the act of creating that gives us the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits. When we’re able to synthesize our body, mind, and spirit we become energized. We take our place at the banquet table we call life.

If you simply get a children’s coloring book and play with crayons you’d be surprised at the impact on your life. We hang those pictures on our refrigerator when our kids color them, why not when we adults create them? Make the refrigerator your own museum! Use your car as a recording studio and sing your heart out! Stand on a mountain and if you don’t have a poem at the ready recite a nursery rhyme and life the creative life!

The Collages We Create

Collage as an art form has taken the world by storm. There are workshops, books, and supplies to support you in creating your personal story through collage. So what is a collage? Collage is the ultimate Gestalt. It is an art form where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

The great part of collage is the process. Gathering the components that will be part of your collage is part of the art. Each piece you collect says something about you.   It reveals your hopes, dreams, and desires. The creation of the collage creates a sense of vulnerability. Why does it create vulnerability? Because we are humans are a walking, breathing collage.

The collage process is our way of transferring our collage of life to an art medium. It can provide you with the means to create an ongoing story. It’s a great medium for those who are more visually inclined instead of journal writing. It can be a mix of pictures and words, colors and shapes, or anything else that catches your eye.

Collage is great because it doesn’t need to follow the traditional rules of what makes great art. We’re not worried about composition and perspective. The only thing that’s important in collage is that you like it and you feel it represents the moment in time, in your life, you’re trying to create.

Another part of collage is that it doesn’t take someone we would traditionally call “talented” to make create something meaningful. If we’re all living collages, all we’re doing is transferring that experience so others can see you in a different way. The other thing is that collage can be like dream work, capturing your subconscious stories in a 2D format.

How can you tell your story through collage? It doesn’t matter if the work is big or small, start collecting components, have fun and tell your story!

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