Make good art says Neil Gaiman, Make a lot of art says Ira Glass, all words that resonates now when the school semester is out and I am shifting my focus on my art practice, part of it is leaning towards the uncomfortable and challenging my fears and focusing on wholly showing up. Gratitude and trust goes well together when I can interrupt the unconscious patterns of thought causing constrictions. The book I used to refer to a lot is the aptly called Art and Fear by Ted Orland and David Bayles says the fear artist have is not about making good art but having the expectation of having made good art that seems to become pressure without a base.
Drawing is a spiritual practice.
- Brings you to a space where you cannot be in the past nor in the future. It keeps you in the present.
- When fully engaged, the self-conscious self disappeared and the artist unfolds his or her truth.
- Allowing mistakes, adjusting, adding, teaches a healthy aesthetic attitude. An aesthetic attitude is the place where the artist engages with his/her expression, a healthy aesthetic attitude is the absence of fear and trusting the process of production. Often this production is not comfortable, frustrating even and it is just part of the artistic process.
- Stepping into blank canvas or paper with assured confidence that whatever expression comes out is your doing and that it is a good doing.
All art making is a good doing, not necessarily a good outcome or a good result. But it is key to understand that artists keeps doing and all doing is good for the artist.
- Approaching results with grace, with acceptance and with a sense of trust that wherever you are, you don’t stop doing.
- Being comfortable in uncertainty about each decisions, such as strokes and lines is the path towards good art.
Resources: john Ruskin on Drawing
Drawing as a spiritual practice is centering the mind on the deep unwavering level of the self by the act of repetition, observation, coordination are all visual meditation.
A visual meditation prolongs the attention on a single observation and takes you out of the rudimentary noise that tends to overwhelm us in every moment. This promotes the pendulum swing of our mind to swing closer towards the center, a center that is often referred to by meditators and spiritual seekers as the center of the universe.
IMPORTANT – GET CLEAR
Work out what’s important to you. This will help a lot in figuring out plans to move towards it. If you’re vague about what’s important to you, your experience will be vague too. The clearer you can be about what’s important to you, the better and clearer your experience will be, and that means you can fully be IN the experience, without any questions and worry that you might not be in the right place.
So how does one work out what’s important? Some therapist will go through the core belief cards with you, to figure out your 5 top needs. Some self-help books will teach you how to find your core desire belief (Daniel LaPorte’s Desire Map is a very good example). If you are to do this by yourself, here’s a way I started it. It might help you.
1. Feeling your body.
2. Slowing down your movement for one hour a day.
Not quite but very similar to the effect of meditation, this is a technique that can be assisted with some ‘minimal sound of music’. Example: AIR or Brian Eno’s Music for Airports)
Start the timer for 60 minutes, and whatever you are doing, slow the speed down to as slow as possible without changing anything. If you are writing, write slower, if you are typing or being on facebook, just do it slower, if you are drawing, cooking, reading, just slow it all down. Be aware more of every word, every movement, every piece of carrot you slice….etc)
Observe your breath as you do this.
3. Sit quietly with a pen and paper
Count down from 5 to 1, then start feeling the subtle differences in your mind.
Jot down thoughts that come.
Have fun with it.