ART COMMENTARY

LIVING YOUR WILD CREATIVITY

......Life Loves You! Life Loves you enough to live as you, to breathe through you, to express itself as you. Life loves you so much!.......
— Iyanla Vanzant

It has been awhile since I posted a blog entry.  During that time Living Your Wild Creativity was birthed to help others bring their wild creativity into being from their deepest desires and to share it with the world. My art partner, Grant Taylor, and I, are co-facilitating and  as we collaborate we are inspiring and growing our own creative paths and delight in sharing it all with you.   

We are currently in the middle of 5 Days in 5 Months, a Wild Creativity Workshop and participants are delving inward and connecting to their Creativity in amazing ways.  It is a beautiful process to  experience.  Among many things,  we support and nurture each person's inner creative vision, find out what inspires and share resources, help set up an art practice that integrates life and creativity, and address blocks and breakthroughs and work in a supportive creative community. 

Due to requests we are adding a Day Long Wild Creativity Immersion on March 24, 2015, 10AM-4PM,   Maybe you will join us....  All you need to do is to register on our website at www.LivingYourWildCreativity.com .  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email us.   We have guest artists coming in April and a special hands on webinar for creating your own beautiful artist website coming soon. We think it is going to be an exciting year for us and you........

To find out more about who we are and what we do and the guest artists we are sponsoring, please visit our ever evolving website.  Keep checking in for new events, workshops, webinars, tutorials.  We have a lot planned and we want to include you all. 

ART COMMENTARY

You Can't Go Back

You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood.......back home to a young man’s (woman’s) dreams of glory and fame....back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but are changing all the time.....
— Thomas Wolfe

As an artist when I put a line down on paper, it is done.  I can't go back.  I can erase it or I can paint over it, but I can never really get back to the empty image again.  It is changed.  Isn't that wonderful. 

I suppose this act of putting down a mark or a brush stoke could cause me to stiffen, freeze or contract and go into lots of thoughts about the quality of the mark, who I am and what my qualifications are for making such a move.    

If I "kind of" made a mark or a brush stroke, it would look hesitant, wimpy, weak.  It would fall flat.   I would wonder what direction this mark is leading me.   But what I find is that making a definite mark allows me to be bold, confident, daring. So whether I am feeling  confident or not, knowing that I cannot go back, I make a mark with conviction.  Knowing I can't go back is a strength, gives me courage and the mark I make becomes my guide, a pointer, a "stand" that reflects right back to me and shows me what to do next, going forward on my journey of painting. 

I believe artists must be risk takers. To attempt to make art I must be willing to push boundaries of what is comfortable, what is known, and explore new territory for discovering deeper meanings.  To make an exciting image, I must be willing to continually move forward to plumb the depths of my immediate experience and to question and challenge my habitual ways of being.  So not going back, is inspiration to go forward.  Then and only then will there be a vitality in the art that can be seen.. 

 

ART COMMENTARY

Letting the Barriers Down

Creativity
be it in a form
of poetry or dance
or song or painting —-
Happens when the Divine
Energy force arises
and breaks down all
the barriers inside you...
— Guthema Roba

Working in my art studio is a very intimate experience.  It is an introverted, contemplative, exploratory self observation experience of sensing, being aware, attuning and allowing. 

Making art is not always comfortable for me.  I often feel as though I am being pried open by the Divine in order to let something far greater than anything I could imagine come through.  It is always a humbling experience to abandon my own preconceived ideas, my own desires and be totally Present in the moment and be willing to risk everything. 

Sometimes there is no easy way to open.  I seem to struggle and struggle with an image until I finally put it aside and come back to it.  At other times, I find a need to make a radically bold gesture to restart the conversation and at other times, I simply have to say I just don’t know……and feel uncertainty ripple through my being.

It is so easy to get caught in my own ways of being, my own limited thoughts, to skirt my own resistances and for that I also need connection from other sources to help keep the barriers down and from building back up.

Sometimes it really helps to look outward------connecting to my environment, connecting to others and sharing my art.  With fresh eyes I can gather inspiration from nature, be enchanted and delighted and informed.   From my own experiences moving through the world, I cultivate accepting what is as it is, so I am constantly shedding judgments and thoughts staying present.  Through others I gather ways of doing things and learn ways of being in my own process of painting.  And, through sharing I open to new insights and valuable feedback on how my work is seen by others. 

How do you keep in the creative flow? 

 

 

ART COMMENTARY

Opening Up

Carl Heyward Collage

I am energized by the reciprocal process of giving and taking...giving to receive...energized in that I am constantly learning new techniques, new media, new ways to see, learning and growing and by sharing that enthusiasm I continue to grow, and not just as an artist, but as a human being. After many years of image making I begin to see the connection between seeing, doing, thinking; that the execution of a concept is dependent upon numerous factors that can combine seamlessly to produce a work that is informed by intellectual, psychic, moral, spiritual even political ambitions because all of these factors and more are elements of reality and shared experience filtered through subjective perception and selection; of choice and sensitivity...of seeing and being.
— Carl Heyward

Being around Carl Heyward, an established SF artist/writer is addictive.  He comes in like a storm and involves people in his spontaneity and openness.  He is not a narcissistic artist; he listens and he shares; he opens pathways, awakens sleeping territory within.  When I am working with him, he sees my edge and pushes me over into that space where I free fall in a very good way.  What the heck.  I have nothing to lose.  Nothing I do is precious and I can always paint over it.  It is exhilarating and I want to see if I can sprout wings and fly.  Carl seems to be right there noticing the effort and applauding it.

Watching Carl work, I see that he finds things that have some energy for him.  His "seeing" and excitement are instinctive and instantaneous. Then he wants to respond.  He begins the dialogue with the materials he finds and with his vast knowledge he skillfully makes use of these materials putting them together in his own unique expression. 

I think we all do this:  find what we like and get excited to respond and give back something of ourselves.  But, Carl's great ability is to Trust himself and when he starts to think too much or judge, he simply thanks his brain for the input and then continues on following his gut/heart/instincts.  There is no hesitancy with Carl. 

THAT is the energy he shares-----no hesitancy, follow my own lead.  Not to be concerned how it is all going to fit together; somehow it harmonizes because it is all coming from myself.

I like how he says, "just try it while you are here with me today and tomorrow you can go back to your own comfortable ways."

And, I laugh.  For once the opening occurs, there is no going back, only the excitement of getting to the next edge and being pushed off once again to fly or not. 

ART COMMENTARY

Inhabiting Myself Well

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
— Anais Nin

There are days of self doubt, disappointment and disillusionment.  They come seemingly out of nowhere but I suspect this is not true.  They come when I am right smack in the middle of painting day after day and having paintings that seem stagnant, not moving forward.   They come when I need to expand and grow but am holding back.  They come when I have stopped trusting the process and I have fallen out of love.  They come when I lose my courage and don’t want to face what is right before me.   Today I am having one of these days.

So what story am I telling myself as I walk into the studio today?  Am I just wasting my time?  Is art a worthwhile endeavor, it seems too selfish?  How am I helping others?  Am I courageous enough to continue day after day not knowing where all my efforts will lead?  Am I good enough?

This perspective is made up by me and takes up residence inside me, and as long as it is there, I am not Inhabiting Myself Well.  These discouraging thoughts hurt and paralyze me.  I feel bad all over.  They cause self-doubt and if I believed this perspective I would walk out of the studio and be terrified to paint again. 

I know, however, my thoughts are only stories.  And I have choice on how I move through my day, day in and day out.  It is up to me, to create the experience with my painting and in the studio that my heart and soul desire to have. So, it is up to me to change my thoughts and ask how much good do I want to experience?   It is up to me to refocus myself to saying Yes! to my curiosity, Yes! to the mystery,  Yes! to the sweet quiet voice that says an emphatic YES! to all of Life.  It is worth the risk for it is far too painful to live these stories devoid of all joy and Love. 

So, I will go out of my studio, take time to contemplate, and then come back into the studio ready to follow the yeses as the painting leads me with a heart full of confidence, curiosity, courage, Love and joy.  I will come back to paint,  saying Yes! to my Life and Loves, Inhabiting Myself Well........ 

 

Here is a link to a colleague of mine who writes of “expansion and contraction” which I found quite helpful and timely……
http://www.kerryschroeder.com/blog/

ART COMMENTARY

The Dialogue

I come prepared. 

With my mind  gently loosened, I bring my full attention.  This sounds paradoxical, but it means that my mind is in a relaxed state, yet fully present.  I focus ready to explore, investigate, and appreciate.  I bring an openness to work without grasping or expecting a particular outcome.   I bring my passion for color, shapes, relationships  and I bring my inspirations and my love of life.  I also bring my knowledge----my years of schooling in the arts, years of gathering information of the tools and materials, years of making art and years of looking at art.    I come prepared so I bring all of me. 

Having this preparation is important because it gives me confidence to know that I can rely on my instincts during the painting process.  So as I paint, the colors, the shapes, the relationships tell me which way to go, what to add, what to subtract, where to expand, where to contract, where to push, where to pull. 

I am co-creating; I am looking and responding to make the painting come alive.  I see what is needed to be seen and by saying “yes” and acting on this enlivened energy.  What I have found that brings the painting alive is a variety of shapes, contrast of lights and dark, how and where they are placed and my eye flowing easily to every part of the image.   So it is a dialogue----I paint, then the painting tells me.  Back and forth, back and forth…….

 

ART COMMENTARY

My First Step  

Curiosity is a necessary part of my creative process.  It is a thirst for wanting to engage and understand.   It draws me in, brings my attention forward to focus on what is in front of me and to look at the subtleties in a mindful manner. Curiosity leads me down paths to explore what I don’t know------it is the “What if”…. It is playful, light hearted and fundamentally, innocent. 

Would we ever do anything if we were not curious?  So curiosity, I think, is necessary for engaging in painting as well as all of life…..  It is because of curiosity that I desire to explore and in doing so take chances, learn, consider, investigate, find new paths, think out of the box….. truly engage in what is around me. 

The image above is the first step in my painting. 

The empty canvas or panel beckons to me to make marks, marks that intrigue me-----bold, big, small, faint, new, familiar, thin, fat,  etc. What do I feel like in the moment?  Where do the marks want to sit on the surface?  Anything goes, no censoring, just being curious…..feeling my way, letting my intuition and senses guide me.  Playing, being carefree…….. 

By playing around with line, washes, marks, etc., I have set up conditions to explore and have a dialogue between the painting and myself------or maybe more accurately to me, between painting and itself with me being the co-creator. 

So where do I go from here?

ART COMMENTARY

Bringing Myself to the Studio

Start Close In
by David Whyte

Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

Start with the ground you know,
the pale ground beneath your feet,
your own way of starting the conversation.
Start with your own questions,
give up on other people's questions,
don't let them smother something simple.
To find another's voice,
follow your own voice,
wait until that voice
becomes a private ear listening to another.
Start right now
take a small step you can call your own
don't follow someone else's
heroics, be humble and focused,
don't mistake that other for your own.
Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
thing
close in,
the step
you don't want to take.

I used to fret about painting.  What was I going to get done?  Was I going to be creative today?  Do I have what it takes to be an artist?  Is my work good enough?  How can I make great works of art?  There are so many artists better than myself, what do I have to offer?   All of these thoughts and more would flood my mind and defeat me before I even got started.  I would feel great resistance and then begin to procrastinate or try to escape.  I was listening to my own mind chatter and believing it.  It is amazing what great excuses I could produce. 

Then I began meditating, allowing all the mind activity to be as it is and as I saw how much it was trying to "save" me from disappointment, hurt, loss, uncertainty, etc., etc. It kept me small, it kept me weak and it kept me stagnate.

What about just taking the first baby step, like a child in the dark, feeling my way, thinking it might not be so "dangerous" after all.  So staying close in to my own experience, following my desires, knowing something different would happen, creating possibilities for myself, I brought my awareness and attention as my guide.   I found a new way to paint. 

Now, as I step into my studio, something changes inside me too.  There is a melting, a softening of all concerns other than being here ready to greet my present experience and deepen into myself, staying close, not thinking of the second step, or the third,.......  There is a spaciousness.  I feel a relaxation in my body as I breathe in strength and exhale gentleness.  I become aware of myself and how I inhabit the studio space.  I feel a sensitivity to the atmosphere, the sounds, the light, and my inner and outer worlds become one.  A joy, a curiosity, an excitement percolates from this place. 

As I choose music and change into my painting clothes, I notice and relish an appreciation for my life.  With deep gratitude, I start the day by fully accepting the invitation of creative collaboration with the mystery.  I look at my paints, feel their colors and textures, have an affection for my well-worn tools, and say "hi" to my unfinished images that have become my "friends." 

My painting day begins....

Please share as you wish your thoughts on what keeps you from going into your studio and what you look forward to when you start to create.   We are all together in this creative journey of life and art.