Sunday, January 31, 2010

Refreshing a Creative Practice, Week 2

I had a private coaching session with Leslie (see previous post) on Monday that is a bonus to our online and phone conference call class. Since I am so aware of how fast time flies, I made a short list and e-mailed it to her before we started talking to try and help keep me focused. Here’s my list:

2010 Desired Result: Completion of powerful new work that resonates authentically and uniquely. 

1. Use art to explore a new paradigm of cooperative living that is INCLUSIVE and not EXCLUSIVE
2. Connect to my deepest, truest artistic inspirations with confidence and courage to act on them.
3. Connect and refine the visual imagery that continuously repeats through my work; inscribed marks, cracks, aging and worn surfaces, fragments of personal histories and the connections/intersections between them all.

Leslie and I talked about these and my vision for artistic “inclusiveness” and suggested that I was in a way sending out an invitation to the universe about this desire. We talked more specifically about this inclusiveness and what it looked like. It seemed to involve connecting to a group of like-minded people who desire to pioneer a different way of being artists in the world.  She suggested that I am not alone, that others will resonate with my ideas, that I don’t totally need to invent this myself. At the close of our time, she gave me an assignment, to work on a piece of art that is an invitation to others to join me in a paradigm of cooperation rather than competition, a network of artists who share with one another in strength, believing in aspiring to excellence and willing to support each other’s abilities and talent.

I agreed to let the ideas begin to flow, to consider the theme of an invitation to connect and to start working out the ideas with some small samples and studies.

That was Monday.

On Tuesday, Leslie gave us our time assignment. That threw me a curve, since all my time is spent in some way relating to art, either mine or others. What could this assignment about time offer me, I wondered?

I wrote, “new body of work” at the center of my circle. That’s what I want my time to revolve around. Then I wondered what to put in each spoke as a perspective. Did I want Ernest Hemingway in mine? Or Picasso? Here are the archetypal characters that emerged as I wrote and a few of their attributes that I listed:



1. Child self

Loves to be outside near water, finds “secret places”, collects rocks and shells and fungi and other magical things, delights in doing, loves and wants everything she sees, band-aids on knees and mosquito bite scabs on her legs, loves attention and ruffled party dresses and praise and is always excitedly tugging a sleeve to say “look at this, look at this”

2. Scientific genius

Collects data, samples, trials, lab full of equipment and tubes and Bunsen burners, white lab coats, Albert Einstein hair and mustache and glasses. Serious, scholarly, combines bizarre ingredients into strange concoctions that sometimes explode, sometimes fizzle, sometimes invent a cure for polio.

3. Famous Artist

Peak of her powers, fabulously unaware of fame and devoted to her work, a consummately skilled technician with great clarity and vision and confidence. She spends a lot of time in her villa in Europe, walks exotic beaches,eats fresh delectable foods, surrounded by incredible colors, vistas and people.

4. High-powered Diva Artist

Commercially successful, lives in a huge urban loft in a major metropolitan city, slender and physically stunning and lives a life filled with verbs: Network, socialize, position, manage, leverage, influence, advance, publicize, promote, project.

5. Buddhist master

Often found in a beautiful Japanese water garden, being mindful and smiling. Every sound magnified, aware of each stirring leaf, each moving insect and bird and animal, every sense alive, mind and body still, receptive, poised. In her hand a brush and before her rice paper and sumi ink. She sits a long time and then makes a flowing, powerful mark on the paper. In each stroke there is a whole story.

6. Isadora Duncan dancer

The dancer lives in a large, open studio surrounded by other dancers. One full wall is mirrors, the other windows. As the music starts, the choreographer works with each person present to build the dance step by step. Hours and hours fly by in repeating, refining, practicing, perfecting, polishing. The body is the canvas.

7. Centenarian

This is an old woman who speaks Polish and Yiddish and wears a babushka wrapped around her head. “Oy” she laughs, I do not need to work at anything. I just sit in the sun and enjoy. The children come and play with me and we tell stories. On day I’ll fall asleep and I will wake up in a new place. That’s life.”

Wonderful characters all and as I named them and began to describe them, I realized they ALL live inside me, that I can choose any one of them as a perspective from which to consider “creating a new body of work.” They became incredibly real.

Next I did our writing exercise in my journal. The second half filled two pages.



I am willing to let go of:

  • distractions
  • interruptions
  • discouragement
  • doubts
  • insecurities
  • self-criticism
  • unhealthy foods
  • judgmental language about myself or others
  • comparing myself or my work to that of others
  • imposing limits on myself or my work.

I am willing to say YES to:

  • attracting the right and perfect venues for exhibiting the body of work I create
  • creating new connections with those who wish to support and exhibit my work
  • attracting associations with other artists who are passionate and committed to process and making
  • honoring these various new aspects of myself that I’ve discovered
  • being willing to work steadily
  • enlisting the support and feedback of other, trusted artist friends that I will draw to my inner circle
  • developing new associations and potential collaborations
  • inviting new methods, materials and mediums for expressing my ideas
  • inviting new insights and perspectives on my work
  • nurturing a healthy, fit and energized physical body
  • affirming my own worth and right to be visible, valued and recognized
  • opening to the idea of limitlessness – limitless time, limitless resources, limitless creative and physical energy, focus, inspiration, clarity, presence and productivity
  • dancing each day
  • smiling and celebrating my beauty, power and creativity each day.

As I was working on this exercise, streams of ideas began to flow about the idea of creating an invitation. Since I already had added the escape clause that I didn’t need to complete it this week, I felt free to experiment and “be” with the ideas and process, so I chose to work with my Scientific Genius and my Buddhist Master to generate and explore ideas.

Here are just a few of the ideas I generated, wrote down and have started to flesh out both at home and in my studio. I’ll try to explain more about them in the next post but here’s the bare beginnings.


The idea I like best will take a lot of work and time to sample from this rough sketch if I choose to commit to doing it. For this idea, I write the letters that spell the word “connect” in large dots with sequential numbers on each dot like a children’s activity book. It “invites” the viewer nonverbally to try and connect the dots. When you do, you get the word connect. My image invites the viewer to connect the dots that form the word connect. Thank you to both my scientist and Zen master for this idea; it also appeals to my child self.


For the next idea, I enlarged a number of letters from the dictionary word “connect” and made them into silk-screens and screen printed them on lutrador. The light silvery printed areas are the dictionary definition of the word. Next I’ll cut the words and letters apart into strips and then reconnect the strips with various joins and materials so the word “connect” will be able to be read. Whether this will actually work or not remains to be discovered. A scientist doesn’t formulate outcomes; they just present a hypothesis and then seek to prove or disprove it!


I also sampled two other ideas using French knots to create letter outlines and satin stitching negative spaces surrounding each letter. More interesting samples.

I still have four or five other variations to sample still for mixed media ideas and will share more  next time!


  1. Wow, Jeanne! You and Cree are so ready for this growth. It's fairly bursting out of you. Only good things will come from this fermentation. It's very special that you and Cree have given yourselves permission to play, explore, experiment, and dance together. Savour the process, and please keep sharing. I'm there vicariously, reading, saying yes, yes, yes, and laughing, noting the images and percolation in my own creative soul. This whole process is very spiritual, deep and light at the same time.

  2. I adore French knots. And I am standing by, feeling the warmth from your creative fire!

  3. Wow, congratulations to you both for actually reading all the way through this post.

    Fermentation is a good word for this work, Rosemary. All of it is about creating -- a body of work, an attitude, a way of life. I'ts great to know you are rooting for me.

    And Leslie, I am appreciating the quiet artistic support that you offer on so many levels.

  4. i'm willing to say yes to wine, music and a basement filled with art.
    oh, and i'm willing to send a big hug to my friend who's wise and playful (like her archetyped child artist)and blogs like there's no tomorrow.
    hi hi hi...
    i went to hungerford B, for first friday today hoping to see you!

    when are we gonna see the dots connecting????


  5. Hi hi hi back at ya -- when WILL we get some time together again?? This week? Next? I am working at a feverish pace and would love your company.

  6. I just read this, and was blown away by the depth of your sharing. I am especially intrigued by the idea of artistic inclusiveness you mentioned. How are these intentions and declarations working out 5 years later?