Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Joy in chopping wood and carrying water...

Morning Pages Collage by Lani with PaperWhimsy image.

In my explorations for my "Postgraduate Studies" program I got to wondering about the nature of resistance.  Have you ever started a project or course of study and then dropped it after some time?  Or have you ever known that to get to point C (have more creativity or what ever in your life) you need to work seriously at point B (have an art space where you can find things, where you can practice every day)?  And that point B for what ever reason just doesn't appeal to you at the moment (cleaning, organizing, etc.)?  So you end up in a kind of trap of resistance, not getting to the place you want to get to, not doing what you want to do, and not enjoying much of anything.

So I started thinking about the Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water."   Suppose I looked at my avoidance of cleaning and organizing as chopping wood and carrying water, then before I can have more creativity in my life, I need to keep things clean and organized, and even after I have more creativity in my life, I need to clean and organize things. 

What if enlightenment (or more creativity) isn't something you have between cleaning and organizing, what if it's all a part of the process?  What if the thing outside of the process is resistance?

So perhaps when we are chopping wood and carrying water, or what ever it is we do, if we really do it mindfully, if we show up and focus, maybe the very doing is a part of the whole thing, enlightenment or creativity.  Hmmm.

Something else to consider when thinking about resistance is motivation, what motivates us to get beyond our not wanting to clean and organize.  I really like this talk by Daniel Pink, very fun animated illustration of fascinating research.  He talks about how we are motivated to do more when we feel a sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose...

OK, now I've got to go chop some wood.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What is important is invisible...

Collage by Lani, vintage girl from PaperWhimsy textures from ghostbones.

William Murtha asked Nic Askew if he’d write 100 words for this book, 100 Word, Two Hundred Visionaries, along with Neale Donald Walsch, Jane Goodall, Alice Walker and 196 others. Nic's (121) words are below, and you can hear him read them here.   

‘as the light makes its way’
A man had lived in his imagination. Ever since he was a boy. For it was full of wonder and adventure when set against
the outer world that housed his everyday life. His imagination surrounded him in light.
The outer world, in a darker shade. But as he waited for this outer world to catch the light,
he realised that it might not. And so he stepped out into the world,
hand in hand with his imagination. Knowing that together they would bring
light to the darkest of corners. — And he is you. And me. And together, the imagination of our collective soul
has already begun its inevitable work. As the light makes its way towards
the experience of the world.

If you had only one hundred words left and you wanted to leave something behind that might open a door for someone, what would you write... or what image would you want to create? I think I'd want to create an image or a story of the treasure being within or maybe it is the search for the treasure, the exquisite experiences all  contributing to that treasure within. If we had only one hundred words left to read, what would we want to read?    Perhaps it would be that the very best things in our lives are not things at all, but experiences, friendships, good stories, and art. The very best things in our lives are probably what we create with our lives; our friendships, our words, our images and our art.

Challenge: What would your 100 words be?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've noticed a strange phenomenon lately...

"Treasure" Collage by Lani with textures from SkeletalMess.

Ever since I started thinking about and creating this "Postgraduate Studies" program for myself, I've noticed the strangest thing. It's as if the Inner Critic has disappeared.  Have you ever experienced that nagging, critical voice that seems to have an opinion about every thing you do? I certainly have experienced that in my lifetime, but not really recently. I don't know where she's gone, but she doesn't seem to be around here at all. Maybe she's on vacation! I figure my inner critic would need a run down little resort where she could complain about everything to her heart's content. Maybe she's found her own little spot in the sun...  Anyway, where ever she's gone, may she find lots to do and may she stay a good long time!

So now I'm thinking that it would be good to start up a Facebook Page just for inspiration and sites from the internet that I have found useful in this new program which seems to have quieted the inner critic and allowed for more actual creativity.  I figure if this is happening for me, who knows, maybe someone else might find something useful too.  So the new facebook page is Lani's 14 Secrets, and it comes with a WARNING: Contents may trigger many good things.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Do you know the work of Dianne Bos?

"Pinhole weather" collage by Lani, Layers from Pareeerica and Colleen Farrel

I was looking at the pinhole work of Dianne Bos (if you don't know her work you are in for a treat!) and I wondered if I could get some of the same weird effects with Photoshop.  So here's what I did.  I duplicated the landscape a few times and ran the gaussian blur on one of them, the erased bits so that some of the landscape was a little blurry and some was sharp.  Then I added the layers from Pareeerica and Colleen Farrel, and then desaturated the whole thing so it looks fairly black and white.  The figure with the umbrella is a brush created from a rubber stamp by Tim Holtz.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

"Start with Why"

Prospero on our morning walk with textures from  Pareeerica and Flypaper Textures.

Continuing with my personal "Postgraduate Studies" program, I've given some thought to the question of "why" that Simon Sinek suggests we ask ourselves in "Start With Why", our driving motivation for action.  What is our passion for what ever it is we are doing.  The theory is when you identify the passion, then his two other questions become easier to answer.  The "how" becomes clearer, those specific actions that we need to take in order to realize our "why".  And then "what" would be the tangible ways in which you bring those "why's" to life, like blogging or sharing images and inspiration. 

And what is my passion?  My passion has something to do with this drive to create and explore the creative process.  I love talking to folks who buck the system and find new ways of doing things, their own ways, actually.  I love the bravery involved with discovering our "why's".  I love finding "passion and creativity" triggers, and sharing them as widely as possible.  I love the idea that some of the links and ideas shared here might cause unbridled creativity.  So this is my passion, to create, discover, and play with as many wonderful creativity triggers as possible and to document the process. 

One of my biggest triggers for creative expression is answering questions where the answers come from within.  The best way to answer questions in a way that might be most surprising would be to create art with the question in mind.  So to that end, I will now see how many of the 9 questions I posted on 14 Secrets I can answer with one image.  Here are the questions:

Who are you?  What do you love about where you live?  What might your perfect afternoon look like? If you had an hour alone in your studio/creative space, what would you do?  Right now, what are some of your favorite things? What foods nourish your soul?  When you simply need to take a breath and reground yourself, what do you do?  How do you nurture your creative dreams?  Does your heart have a secret wish you want to share?
 Here are the answers (or quite a few of them) in one image.
 I may try this again.  It is fun!

How would your answer or answers  look?

This week's Collage Obsession challenge is up...

"Let me not look in the mirror" Collage by Lani for Collage Obsession, image from Elegia and Itkupilli and Itkupilli's collage sheet.

I had fun with this one, called "Mirror" with a painting by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg.  I noticed the woman in front of the mirror wasn't actually looking in the mirror, so I thought, "yes, I know this feeling, let me not look in the mirror because I am often scared by what I see."  LOL!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Listen to the whispers...

This collage was created for GhostWorks Texture Competition #12 with the wonderful texture from Skeletal Mess

Continuing with my personal "Postgraduate Studies" program, I thought I would play with Eric Maisel's  The Ten Zen Seconds incantation "I am completely stopping" or my version "Can I completely stop?". I would like to practice moving from my “everyday mode” to that quieter, deeper, more passionate “space” where possibilities occur.    I also found Kelly Rae Roberts' book, Taking Flight very encouraging of listening to the whispers within the stillness that are there when we completely stop. 

 And she quotes a bit of a Terma Collective poem from "The Box" which I particularly love:
"What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside...
what still pulls on your soul?"

Want the whole poem?  Here it is:

And suddenly, out of the silence, someone whispered to me:
"You are the one. Come immediately!"

What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
& the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?
In the silence
between your heartbeats
hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?
Don't think for a moment
the Mind
that designed the maple leaf,
the mountain, & the Milky Way,
(our endless need to love & be loved)
has forgotten you.

It was a still, foggy morning in Prospect, the Rhubarb was slightly out of control but I thought what a fine thing for a little Pereeerica layer, Dark Teal Clouds!  Thank you Pareeerica!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

More on Brave Art

Do you ever feel the desire to create bravely but come up against that part of yourself that says do the safe thing?  I do and I'm tired of the safe thing.  So I signed up for Juliana Coles' Extreme Journalism course.  We created these wonderfully distressed altered books, filled with textures, tape, and bravery.  We started by starting, that's Juliana's idea, just jump in.  She makes it so easy.  We made tabs for our books, created work around where we came from, what we valued, where we find sanctuary, and even explored the dark bits.  Oh yes, and we could write letters of recommendation from anyone at all, and also a letter of resignation.  Wow, very liberating!  And from beginning to end we followed our own inner artist's directions, our own intuition about what needs to be expressed and how.  And finally we went though our books and found ways to weave the disparate parts together.  I am truly amazed by this course.

"What is reconciliation?" for Juliana Coles' class.

Expect nothing...

Collage by Lani, and texture from Pareeerica (this one out of 1070) and FlyPaper
"Expect nothing.  Live frugally
on surprise."  -Alice Walker

I was walking in Burlington, Ontario last week and the day was maybe a little too hot, the water completely still because there was no breeze at all and I thought, "take a photo to play with textures".   I left the whinging frame of mind that said this is too hot, I'm not comfortable, and suddenly the day opened up.  The possibilities seemed as limitless as the sky and lake together.  It felt like vacation mind.  I was expecting nothing and enjoying every surprise that came my way.  It seems like such a simple task, expecting nothing, one that I just need to remember from time to time.  I'm sure it's a step towards creating brave, wildly creative, extreme art (see previous post).  In fact I'm sure this is the key to unlock that door that Anne Lamott talks about:

"If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must"

Collage by Lani for Collage Obsession, textures from  Pareeerica and FlyPaper and image from Elegia and Itkupilli