Monday, January 8, 2018

To Unfold Exactly

Deep inside, almost from day one, I've trusted my art to unfold exactly as it will unfold. 

My shallow outside, however, gets a little antsy and doubting at times, wanting to direct and control more than trust. Wanting to hurry things along or achieve a particular result. But for the most part, it is also surprisingly trusting. 

Really, what else can my art do but unfold exactly as it will unfold?

Jane Davies recently wrote about painting studies she'd done, saying: To me, it is important that these "studies" have no pressure on them to BE anything other than the result of a process. If they went directly into the wood stove now, it would be fine; their purpose has been served. I've made them, and I've looked at them.

Those words stopped me in my tracks. I might trust my art to unfold as it will unfold, but I do get attached to outcome.

I would LOVE to experience what Jane describes, to engage wholeheartedly and fully in studies that need be nothing other than the result of a process, to generate pieces that could go directly into a wood stove having served their purpose, with no backward glance from me, no pang of indecision, no grasping. 

My first impulse? Make it happen! do it! set it as a goal! start now! …

Oh.

Yeah.

Trust.

That experience will either unfold in my life or it won't.

Today I painted happily and freely, wonderfully open to intuition and play and experimentation. I was so content in quiet timeless flow in my teeny studio in my little house in the deep cold of winter.

free canvas #2
8x10"
work in progress

10 comments:

  1. Must have missed that post by Jane! I find it hard to remove the consciousness from working through my unconcious! Sometimes they compete with one another. I find that is your small exercise. The bottom seems more conscious then the top. I may be mistaken!
    Off to class!

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    1. Yes, bottom of this WIP now more deliberately developed; top untouched from previous day's unloading some bits of leftover paint onto the canvas willy nilly.

      What struck me about Jane's words was that, regardless of how much deliberate conscious effort she might make or not, her attachment to the piece was only to engage in process. Once the process had been lived and looked at, their purpose was served and she could let them go.

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  2. Such a great post, Dotty! I struggle to let go of my favorite parts within pieces, even when they may distract from the whole. I find things too "precious" to part with. So now, whenever I get attached, I immediately cover that section. Freedom.

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    1. Letting go of what I make precious—one of the central pieces of what art puts in front of me again and again and again to practice/learn. I have a long way to go!

      Or, maybe a very short way if I can make the slightest shift to discover empirically that it could be otherwise, with no struggle

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  3. Thanks so much for this post Dotty, this is exactly what I hope for this year. I hope it for my painting, and I hope it for the rest of my life.

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    1. So glad this touched you, Simone—we seem to be in similar places just now!

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  4. Sounds like it's something you should try, Dotty. What's stopping you?

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    1. My monkey mind, I'd wager to guess. The good news is: my husband and I are actually hoping to install a woodstove soon, so then there will be NOTHING to stop me!!!

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  5. Love the rolling, warm, sunny shapes. And the propitious pink promise of the unknown :)

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    1. Sheila, yes! Thanks for your upbeat elevated view of this wonky little work in progress!

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