I've decided to have a go at writing a blog again. It's not always easy, I often feel silly in the things I want to say. But I'm gonna try.
I've been very inspired by an artist's blog recently, the one by Eva Magill-Oliver, who's work is absolutely gorgeous. And here it is again, I guess the infinite cycle of comparisons. My work isn't as good as hers, not as beautiful, not as mature. That's where my mind's going with it today. Dear monkey mind!
Which brings me to the subject of a book I'm reading, given to me as a gift from a student of mine. It's called "Mindfulness & the art of drawing: a creative path to awareness" by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh. It's a very useful little book and I am very much enjoying reading it. Strangely enough, even though yes I am a practicing artist, I meditate, do regular bodywork and am familiar with the "mindfulness" themes, I have found it refreshing to connect those mindful practices to art in a way I hadn't quite given myself permission to do. Somehow, in the midst of life's routines, cooking and eating very well, doing bodywork and meditation everyday, my art practice had become routine too, and not so mindful. Being alone, I often feel the need to listen to the radio, podcasts, audiobooks etc... There are many distractions around. And because making art is natural to me, because I've been doing it for so long, I can almost do it "my eyes closed" so to speak. In fact there are many exercises in this book that speak about drawing your eyes closed. I had tried before, but the suggestions Wendy makes to the connection with the tool, the paper, the breath, I have to admit I hadn't been paying much attention to.
Reading this book, amongst other things I am doing in my life, has made me want to reconnect to my practice in a different way. I have also been blown away by a video my good friend and artist Rod McIntosh has recently made called "With the breath". Rod connects his yoga and meditation practices brilliantly with his work: he cannot start a piece without breathing, you can see it when he paints. And sometimes he may feel crap and it may not work out, but being perfect isn't the point. The point is to take a second to check in with oneself, in honesty, where am I at today? And to take a second to consider the space we are in, the tool we use, the paper we will draw on.
And these are things I teach to my students. So I need to do myself what I preach a little more. Yesterday, I made some works just for the hell of it, without caring about the results. Just do something. And ever so slowly, I could see the emergence of some new marks, of something new that wants to be born. But if I am not available, they won't come.