- Ineffable: Fantasy & Reality |I primarily create art alone. It gives me a sense of security,since whatever I decide to make isn’t judged. Recently, I was able to realize a series of paintings that I had dreamed of making over the past three years. This series, however, required that I work with someone in a really intimate and vulnerable way. For a long time, this series could only exist as a fantasy in my mind because I had a deeply rooted sense of inadequacy. I never felt that my work was good enough, that I was attractive enough, or even worthy enough to receive what I truly wanted.
As I’ve started to discover ways to stop labeling and judging myself, I notice my life gets better. Dropping the labels and needing to identify my thoughts as good or bad makes me feel more confident. I feel a freedom to pursue the things that make me happy. Maintaining this balance of freedom and security takes a lot of work. It constantly is challenged, either by old habits or new experiences. To read the rest of this post, click here.
- Ineffable: Portraits | Twice a week, Neil would smash our per-existing beliefs about what we were seeing and drawing. He would point out that we were drawing what we thought we saw, instead of what was really there. “You keep thinking in terms of objects – oh there is a nose, and an eye, and a chin. But you’re not drawing the shapes of color that are really there. That’s how you draw more accurately. Stop thinking that you’re drawing a person. Start drawing the shapes that make up the whole. Pay attention to the colors and how they change from warm to cold in relation to each other on the paper.” Shedding these perceptions was really challenging. It was unlearning a subtle, habitual way of seeing the world. I’d continually make the same mistakes over and over again. He’d laugh at me while holding his suspenders and say “No! The face is the wrong size! How big do you think your face is?” I drew my perception of the size of my own face. He laughed again, handed me a marker. He instructed me to do the following: “Go into the bathroom and trace the outline of your face in the mirror. Then really look at it.” I did what he told me, and was surprised to see how small the outline was. At that moment, I understood the difference between seeing and perceiving.To read the rest of this post, click here.
- Ineffable: The Beauty of Nature | There is nothing I enjoy more than spending time outdoors. I savor the quiet time, at first getting lost in thought and then letting them all fade away. Being in nature always makes me calm and serene. When I come back from long hikes or runs, people often remark that I look happier. There is something transformative about this time alone in the wild. It’s difficult to put into words what I see and how it makes me feel. For many years, I tried to capture my experience with photography. Today, however futile my attempt may be, I feel the need to speak about what the experience is like for me. To read the rest of this post, click here.
- Ineffable: Time & Space | But then there came a point during which my desired to try harder and be better consumed me. I’d try so hard that I lost sight of what I really wanted. If things didn’t happen within the time frame I’d created, well, it was all over. I’d push people away. I’d throw my work out. I’d burn my writing. I became so attached to the idea of achieving success – whatever that was – that all the creativity seemed to stop. I came to resent the interval between events. Why couldn’t I be creative, successful, in love, or simply “on” all the time? (To read the rest of this post, please click here.)
- Ineffable: Patience | These thoughts and feelings that were always whirling around inside of me would slow down and stop completely when I started to focus on creating. A new-found patience started to grow within. I could quiet my mind more. Life became less about imposing my will on people and situations. I experienced freedom from anger and irritation because I started to realize that there is nowhere else to be but here, now. (To read the rest of this post, please click here.)
- Ineffable: Knowing When to Stop |
“If you don’t know what you are making, how do you know when to stop?” That’s a reasonable question. Yet it’s difficult to answer. Maybe I can answer it with a personal story. I started a new job at the end of August 2013. It’s in a completely unrelated industry – a real suit and tie type of place. When I went on my initial interview, we arrived at the question and answer portion. I brazenly asked if I could remove the existing art work and replace it with my own. (How’s that for bold?)I got the job, and it was quite a transition. I’m the only woman in the office (keep in mind that my previous work environments were the reverse – mostly or entirely female). I’m also the only aesthete. Making something for this shared space really preoccupied my thoughts. It had to be appealing to an audience I knew very little about, and one that would have only one real strong opinion about the work – if they didn’t like it. (To read the rest of this post, please click here)
- Photo Diary: The Stream | “The flow of life . . . you are going along with it whether you want to or not. Like people in a stream, you can swim against it. But you’ll still be moved along by it, and all you’ll do is wear yourself out in futility. But if you swim with the stream, the whole strength of the stream is yours. Of course, the difficulty so many of us have is finding out which way the stream is going.” – Alan Watts (To view the original post, please click here)
- Ineffable: Various Media | Pens. Pencils. Paint. Photography. Each of these mediums creates a different essence in a composition. When I’m really fascinated by a subject, time seems to be suspended. The outside world dissolves into murky dust and gently vanishes. My mind quiets. I feel tuned into the energy of my subject in a mysterious, ineffable way. The way the light hits its surface. Its reaction to temperature. How the environment caresses and envelopes it. I love to capture these qualities and sensations with different media. (To read the rest of this post, please click here.)
- Introduction to the new series | It’s been a while since I’ve written. I’ve been allowing myself to really run away with my thoughts; explore my ideas more fully, read, and experiment with new media. Somewhere, I came across this idea: ineffable – too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words.
This was such a perfect word. To say what can’t be said. So much of mypersonalworkisan attempt to express what seems impossible to say. People often ask me how long it takes me to make a painting, and I struggle to tell them. Sometimes it can be in one sitting, other times it can take weeks. It’s even difficult to say how I start. Every time is one big experiment. Recently, I made a painting for a friend. It was my first commission. He was really interested in hearing around my process. We even had a lengthy discussion about how to hang it. It’s very difficult for me to explain my process, mostly because it’s spontaneous.
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Spontaneity | Life is spontaneous. It happens by itself. This is one of the fundamental principles of Buddhism. While it is good to make plans and set goals, it’s important to make time for life to unfold before you. This isn’t living life according to whim. There is more to spontaneity than caprice and disorder.
As an artist, I can tell you how this is true. I can’t tell you where my ideas come from. They happen spontaneously. It’s difficult for me to approach a canvas or piece of paper with an expectation. When I try to make something specific, it never seems to turn out right. So my approach has been to let the materials “speak” to me. I mix the paint right on the canvas. I see what shapes start to appear on their own. (To continue reading this post, please click here.)