Friday, June 21, 2013

Living consciously

the mind is a blank canvas

Every morning I get up, I make coffee, and I play with crayons at my easel on newsprint paper.


I draw the tree branches outside my window, I draw dreams from the night before, I play lazily with abstract compositions. Often I jut simply draw circles and fill in places that overlap, or don't overlap. The paper is a cheap, terrible quality that doesn't hold up in sunlight, and crayons lend themselves mostly to play, not to work. And that is precisely the point. This practice is purposefully ephemeral.


It isn't about what is made in these first sessions. It's just about warming up. It's about setting my intention for the day. Listen up, brain. I know we do a lot of different things together. But today it's all about MAKING ART. So let's concentrate on that.

seagulls under the rainbow

I got this idea partly from Keri Smith, who found that when she spent her first waking moments on simple collage -- even when the results were laughable -- she was somehow was better prepared for the day.

I have found the same thing to be true. Going about my day -- even if I must attend to other things first -- I am more perceptive to patterns in the sidewalk, to the movement of the leaves in the trees, to the colors of the flowers or houses in my neighborhood.

It also replaces that anxious voice with a calmer, more assertive voice. Instead of when can I get back to the studio, why aren't I spending more time on this project, what happens if I can't do that, what if we can't make bills next month, what if, what if, what if...


On days I warm up in this way, all I hear is I am an artist.


This post is part of a collaboration with Jessica Swift and many other bloggers to celebrate the release of her forthcoming book, "The Declaration of You," published by North Light Craft Books. To learn more or read other posts on the subject of "intention" -- as well as previous subjects covered by other people -- click here.