“You are perfect the way you are...and you could use a little improvement.” Shunryu Suzuki Roshi.
Great thought to begin reflecting on ways to strengthen and move forward:
Pondering is one thing… writing is another. I think deeply about my projects – ideas and processes – but I have learned about the value of writing in this course… something I have not spent much time on previously. Writing about ones work or intentions brings up questions, demands specifics, generates new ideas and concepts, and deepens the process of pondering and of making. It has helped me focus on particular projects already on the go, as well as preparing for future work. Writing has helped bring clarity to my ideas. And while I’m still a bit reticent (only out of stubbornness and habit) about committing to integrating it on a permanent basis, I cannot deny its obvious potential to improve my “making”. Therefore, my first steps in continuing with strength training are:
- I plan to take the time and invest energy in writing and reflecting on the direction of my work, and on specific pieces and series.
- I’m going to go back to Lesson 7, which I felt unable to do at the time. I feel it’s perhaps the most important lesson of the series, but it also required me to address some profound questions and concepts that I didn’t feel up to at the time (and it was a particularly mind-bending week at work). My personality is perhaps a poor combination of being deeply spiritual and profoundly cynical. No doubt, it has an impact on in my work. It muddies the stream, and complicates what I choose to reveal or not reveal in my art. Hopefully taking the time to work through Lesson 7 will help clarify some of this and help me move forward in a more deliberate and open way.
- I want to bring more focus to two current series (and perhaps how they are related to each other) – one on ancestors/heritage, and the other – reflections on light (working title). Both of these need to be more fully developed conceptually… which requires writing!
- I’m going to include certain mixed media techniques into my work. I’ve been considering this for a while, but have not taken the time to explore it.
- I want to better understand the commonalities in my work and either build on them, or expand beyond them: the use of silhouettes, repetition, working large, the unintentional (only recently discovered) frequent use of the circle in a square…. More writing.
That’s the “what”. The “how” requires commitment of time. At this point, the best I can do is to commit every spare moment. That may not be specific enough, but I’m going to write it down – “COMMIT EVERY SPARE MOMENT” – and tack it to the wall over my computer… where my eye wanders all too often. It’s also serves as a reminder of the lessons learned in this course.
Thank you, Jane, for the course. I’ve enjoyed the way it has caused me to struggle with myself. I’ve run the gamut from being profoundly moved and motivated, to wondering what the heck I’m getting out of it. (I think that’s more an aspect of personal resistance, than a reflection on the course itself.) However, I think that’s actually how it should work – continual questioning, some hard work, a good dollop of inspiration, and thoughtful guidance. It’s now up to me to continue with what I’ve learned.
I have a few specific take-aways from this weeks wrap up that I want to keep in mind. (Perhaps they also require notes posted on the wall)
“The first one to recognize is that once it’s in you…, it’s in you.
Number two? The paradox: you’ll never be good enough, but you can still love what you do.
Number three? A dawning realization that the flip side of having it in you is not being able to get away from it! You’re birthing an artist self and the birth canal only goes one way.
Having built stamina affords you the opportunity to grab an even bigger challenge - positioning your work to make a difference in the world - whether by sharing beauty, commenting on justice/injustice, or by making people laugh.”
This last bit applies so well to each of us. We each have different motivations for expressing ourselves artistically. We are inspired and affected by different things. We each have different philosophies on art and making, and we each can interpret what our “world” is. The point is to make a difference – in ourselves, our families or communities, or in an even wider sense.
I made this piece during the course. It was unusual for me, because I often work large and take months to complete pieces. It’s small and was made for a specific show, to specific parameters. It only took me four days (evenings mostly). It made me realize that I should do a lot more of this kind of work – not because it’s easily done, but because it will allow for more experimentation, generate and develop new ideas, and provide sense of accomplishment that is often long delayed when making large work. Being active in this course, dedicating time for creativity, motivated me to jump on this small project which I might not have made time for otherwise. I enjoyed it!