Monday, February 2, 2009
"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." Henry Ward Beecher
Eric Maisel, in "Coaching the Artist Within", urges readers to create a statement of life purpose and then hold the intention to fulfill it, remaining mindful, passionate and focused. Do you have a sense of overall purpose and direction for your life? Could you write it down into a single sentence?
In "On Becoming An Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity", author and painter Ellen J. Langer writes "I have come to believe that, above all else, to be a true artist is to be mindful. Even if someone has all the skills in place, a mindlessly executed work of art is in some sense dead. If that is the case, then no matter what our level of skill, if the art is mindfully engaged, the end result should lead to a positive outcome."
What does it mean to mindfully engage in creating art? A Rainer Maria Rilke poem from "The Book of Hours" offers an insight:
"The hour is striking so close above me,
so clear and sharp,
that all my senses ring with it.
I feel it now: there's a power in me
to grasp and give shape to my world.
I know that nothing has ever been real
without my beholding it.
All becoming has needed me.
My looking ripens things
and they come toward me, to meet and be met.
Do all our senses ring with attention to the artistic stimulation that surrounds us each day? Do we grasp and give shape to our worlds with the creative power that burns so strongly inside each one of us by truly looking? There is a magnetism in seeing.
Mindfulness -- being present and attentive as I engage in creating -- increasingly occupies my thoughts. I want my "looking" to ripen what I focus my gaze upon.
As I engage in stitching this painted language sample,I find myself entering a quiet, meditative state where I feel a connection to the movement and flow of the stitching. The machine begins to feel like an extension of my hand, a drawing tool.