Monday, July 27, 2009

Notes to Myself

Since you're most likely a creative person or you wouldn't even be interested in reading this blog about art making, I decided to share some of my personal thoughts and responses as I evaluate this past week's studio work and consider how to proceed.

One lesson that seems to surface time and time again for me is to SLOW DOWN and reflect on pieces quietly, to allow more time for each choice, even if that means making only a single mark after a whole day of contemplating.

Every time I get swept up in the energy of creating the universe reminds me in some way -- fuchsia pink dyeing results for example -- that I am rushing, tearing into a meal instead of savoring each bite.

Slowing down may mean taking more time to sample and test my color palette when I use dyes so that I know how the individual dyes act, from the palest pale to darkest dark applications. And what happens to them in combination with other dyes in my palette BEFORE I apply them.

It may mean doing more sketches and studies and keeping more notes of the results for each work. Perhaps each piece I make could have its own documented history and record of its evolution. That could be a valuable resource in itself.

When I look at Da Vinci's sketchbooks and see the careful notes he wrote to himself over his lifetime as he explored a vast range of subjects, I realize how patiently he observed, recorded and considered each line, each shape, each idea.

When I'm creating, I feel as though I begin to spin faster and faster. Part of me is so keenly aware of time passing, of deadlines and commitments and even my own mortality. I begin to try and cram more and more into each day, racing against the clock or the limitations of my physical energy to produce, to make, to do.

Since creative energy also accelerates and energizes the maker, when we move into an exhilarated creative state it can be difficult to let it go, to disengage, to reflect.

I KNOW the power of stillness, of centering, of getting quiet inside. Most of us do. I experience it. But I don't always choose it when I'm working creatively.

Once I begin soaring and swooping and diving into my work and process, I find it hard to let it go, to step back and quietly contemplate what I am actually intending.

So this week I am going to practice slowness. And intention. Considering. Savoring each thought and idea like it's a delicate sliver of dark chocolate.

Quietly, confidently and assuredly living each moment of my artistic life and expression.


  1. Hi Jeanne,
    I love this post! You beautifully articulate the meditative quality I've been trying to work in over the past few weeks. I am always amazed at how much more strongly the muse speaks when I am in this frame of mind. I would love to put your post, and a link of course, on my blog. Would that be okay with you?

  2. Hi Tracy, I held my breath about sharing something so personal, so your reply is a very welcome validation. I'd be happy for you to put the post and link on your blog.